Still Receiving Alice Rejections? Time to Revisit USPTO Guidance
Alice Corp v. CLS Bank Int’l, 134 S. Ct. 2347 (2014) sent rejections under 35 U.S.C. § 101 skyrocketing from under 10,000 per year prior to the Alice decision to nearly 35,000 the year the Supreme Court handed down its decision (2014). Peaking at just over 100,000 rejections in 2018, the USPTO’s January 2019 Revised Patent Subject Matter Eligibility Guidance (2019 PEG) helped to stabilize and ultimately lower the number of rejections under Section 101 to just over 20,000 in 2021. Though this number may continue to drop – the data on Section 101 rejections for 2022 is not yet complete – one thing is for sure: The number of rejections under Section 101 post Alice still far outnumber the Section 101 rejections made prior to Alice by at least 10,000 per year. As illustrated in Fig. 1 (data gathered using juristat.com), the majority of rejections under Section 101 made since 2014 are still Alice rejections, which leaves room for this number to decrease further.