The Year in Patents: The Top 10 Patent Stories of 2019
As we prepare to enter a new year—and a new decade—it is time once again to look back on the year behind us to assess its impact for the IP world. All in all, it was very much a year of “almosts.” While the Supreme Court is still considering some cases that could herald massive change for patent law, its most notable move this year has largely been to keep its head planted firmly in the sand, particularly when it comes to Section 101 and patent eligibility, signaling that it seems to either believe everything is fine, or that Congress or the Federal Circuit will fix the problem they initially created. Similarly, Congress has been perhaps more active than ever before on IP issues across the board, but has thus far failed to enact or move forward on meaningful legislation at any level. At the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Andrei Iancu made some heroic changes in examiner guidance on Section 101 that promised to clear up the massive confusion that has developed over the last decade, but the courts refused to acknowledge the USPTO’s authority on the matter, thereby making the changes virtually useless.