Posts Tagged: "patent eligibility"

In Defense of Patentability of Mathematical Formulas and Relationships

“Mathematical Formulas and Relationships” fall under the “Abstract Idea” exception to the categories of patentable subject matter. Characterizing the “Mathematical Formulas and Relationships” as “Abstract Ideas” has led to misrepresentation of mathematical concepts in patent law. A “Mathematical Formula or Relationship” is a means of expression and should be inspected to extract what it expresses. Next, the content that is being expressed may be evaluated to determine whether the “Mathematical Formula or Relationship” is expressing a “Tool” or a “Model,” both of which are used for building machines and devising technological processes and neither of which needs to be categorically excepted from patentability.

Tillis Bill Would Restore Needed Clarity and Predictability in Patent Eligibility Law

Over the last 15 years, the United States Supreme Court has mutated patent eligibility into an impossibly complex and confusing mess. The Court’s current eligibility test strays far from Congress’s original intent, erodes trust in predictability, and has left many remarking that innovation in the United States is falling behind due to uncertainty of patent eligibility law. Even more troubling, the resulting uncertainty of patent ineligibility for large swaths of innovation in critical technology areas, including artificial intelligence, poses significant risks to U.S. competitiveness, economic growth and national security. The Court has had opportunities to rectify its patent sinkhole but recently declined another chance to mend the chaos. When the Court denied certiorari in American Axle v. Neapco—despite the Solicitor General’s plea to hear the case—it became clear that Congress must step in to rescue U.S. innovation.

What Scares You? A Few of the Most Frightening Developments in IP Law

Intellectual property (IP) law developments may not be high up on most people’s list of worst nightmares this Halloween, but for IP owners and lawyers, they can cause a fright. From patent eligibility to the economy, here are some thoughts on the scariest IP issues out there; add yours in the comments—if you dare.

Patent Filings Roundup: Another Slow Week in the Courts; Discretionary Denials Drop to Near-Zero in Q3

It was another surprisingly light week in patent filings, compared at least with recent memory—just 29 new suits and 17 new filings at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), all inter partes reviews (IPRs). The filings include a few challenges against patents asserted by the Fortress-funded Neo Wireless and Netlist, as well as a slew of filings by Apple against Mullin Industries, LLC. After a week’s respite there were five new IP Edge suits—not as many as usual, but still enough to represent almost a fifth of all suits filed this week.

Presenting the Evidence for Patent Eligibility Reform: Part IV – Uncertainty is Burdening Litigants and Courts, Threatening U.S. Competitiveness and National Security

The current unreliability of patent-eligibility law, documented thus far here, here and here, has also created undue burdens on litigants and the courts. In this final installment, we detail how the current unreliability burdens litigants and the courts and how it is a fundamental threat to U.S. competitiveness and national security. Patent infringers now routinely raise Section 101 as a defense, often merely as a strategy to complicate and prolong the litigation, rather than as a good-faith defense with a likelihood of success. For example, one analysis found that, from 2012 to 2014 (when Alice was decided), Section 101 was raised in just two Rule 12(b)(6) motions across the country each year. In the year after Alice, that number rose to 36 motions, and by 2019, accused infringers were filing over 100 such motions each year.

Michel Calls Out CAFC for ‘Tremendous Failure’ to Provide Clarity on Eligibility Law

During IPWatchdog’s Life Sciences Masters 2022 today, Retired Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) Paul Michel said a lot could be fixed by the CAFC itself with respect to patent eligibility law if it would just go en banc more often. “By my recollection the Federal Circuit hasn’t gone en banc on a major patent case in a decade,” Michel said. “And yet, all CAFC judges are on record saying that 101 law is a total mess and needs to be fixed.” Michel was speaking on a panel moderated by Laura Smalley of program sponsor, Harris Beach, and including Mike Cottler of biosimilars company Alvotech and Tom Stoll of Genentech. The panelists were discussing the effect of U.S. patent eligibility law on the life sciences industry, including the potential impact of current efforts to reform patent eligibility law, such as Senator Thom Tillis’ (R-NC) Patent Eligibility Restoration Act. While Michel said he believes it’s ultimately Congress’ job to make the kind of policy judgments the Supreme Court and Federal Circuit have been making in this sphere, there is still a lot more the Federal Circuit could be doing to help the situation

Eligibility Comments to USPTO Suggest Alice/Mayo Framework Changes, While PTAB Practices RFC Sees Copy-Paste Campaign

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is currently assessing comments collected pursuant to a pair of requests for public input, one focused on the agency’s subject matter eligibility guidelines for examining patent applications for 35 U.S.C. § 101 issues, and the other seeking feedback on several practices surrounding patent validity trials at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). While the PTAB practices request for comments appears to have spawned a copy-and-paste comment campaign involving thousands of boilerplate comments, about two-dozen comments filed on the Section 101 guidelines featured far more sophisticated views on actions that the USPTO should be taking to improve patent examination practices on patent applications that trigger issues with judicial exceptions to Section 101 eligibility under U.S. Supreme Court case law.

Interactive Wearables is Not the 101 Case That You’ve Been Waiting For

On October 3, the U.S. Supreme Court once again requested the views of the Solicitor General (SG) in a Section 101 case, Interactive Wearables v. Polar Electric Oy. Last summer, there was excitement in the patent community when the SG, whose advice the Court usually follows, recommended granting review in American Axle v. Neapco. Although that petition was ultimately denied, this new case purports to fit the mold of American Axle. This has led some to hope that Interactive Wearables will also get the nod from the SG—and perhaps High Court review. To those eager for a Supreme Court decision that reins in patent eligibility jurisprudence, however, I regret to inform you that Interactive Wearables will not be that case. This case is quite unlike American Axle—and its claimed invention is in the heartland of what should be ineligible subject matter.

Cooperative v. Kollective CAFC Decision Demonstrates Virtues of Consistent and Candid Patent Prosecution and Litigation

It is sometimes said that a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on. We have found, however, that it is often the slow-and-steady truth that wins the race in our deliberative justice system, which for patents has both administrative and judicial components. Our case-in-point is the Federal Circuit’s recent decision in Cooperative Entertainment, Inc. v. Kollective Technology, Inc., which reversed a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal on patent ineligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101. This case demonstrates how an invention that is potentially assailable on eligibility grounds can be given its best chance by a focused, consistent and synergistic patent prosecution and litigation strategy. Thus, it is not coincidental that your authors are a patent litigator and a patent prosecutor, respectively.

Letters Seek to Dispel Gene Patent ‘Scaremongering’ Surrounding Tillis’ Patent Eligibility Bill

Last week, the leadership of the Judiciary Committees and IP Subcommittees from both houses of Congress received letters seeking to address misinformation being presented by critics of the Patent Eligibility Restoration Act, a bill proposed by Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) that would abrogate several U.S. Supreme Court rulings on patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Both the Council for Innovation Promotion (C4IP) and University of Akron Law Professor Emily Michiko Morris not only supported Congressional passage of Tillis’ patent eligibility bill but also pushed back on criticisms that the bill would enable biotech firms to patent genes as they exist in the human body.

Presenting the Evidence for Patent Eligibility Reform: Part III – Case Studies and Litigation Data Highlight Additional Evidence of Harm

Systemic-level studies and data regarding impact on investment and innovation, as detailed in Part II of this series, are not the only way to demonstrate the substantial harm that the current state of patent eligibility has inflicted on the U.S. innovation ecosystem. Other robust evidence shows that current Section 101 law has harmed innovation by removing the incentives to develop and commercialize particular inventions of public importance. As another form of harm, the vagueness and breadth of the Alice/Mayo framework have also enabled accused infringers to transmogrify Section 101 into a litigation weapon in inappropriate cases that has created unnecessary burdens and costs on innovators and the courts.

Federal Circuit Hands Zillow a Win, Ruling IBM Map Display Patents Cover Abstract Ideas

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today issued a precedential decision finding that two IBM patents directed to technology that allows users to select and view results on a map were directed to ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. IBM had sued Zillow, alleging that several of the services offered on Zillow’s website and mobile applications infringed the claims. But the district court granted Zillow’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, finding the claims were directed to abstract ideas and lacked any inventive concept. The opinion was authored by Judge Hughes. Judge Stoll dissented in part, explaining that claims 9 and 13 of IBM’s U.S. Patent No. 7,187,389 were plausibly patent eligible and should not have been found ineligible at the pleadings stage.

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.

IP Practice Vlogs: Responding to the USPTO’s Request for Public Comments

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) would like public comments on how to update the 2019 Subject Matter Eligibility Guidance. The agency is also seeking comments on how to improve the robustness of the patent system overall. This article/video is in (unofficial) response to both of these requests for comments. The current mess surrounding subject matter eligibility in the United States is an offspring of a much deeper problem in patent law, which is that there is practically no standardization in patent practice. In medicine, U.S. doctors are trained by standardized practices through rotations and residency programs such that when they begin practicing, a doctor graduating in Florida will not practice medicine vastly different from a doctor graduating from medical school in California, for instance. Instead, the idea is that all the graduates will approach medical treatment in a standardized way so that the public has a lot more faith in the medical community.

Hughes Dissents in Partial Win for Inventor Against Google at CAFC

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today issued a precedential decision in part reversing and in part affirming a district court’s dismissal of an inventor’s patent infringement suit against Google under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure12(b)(6). Judge Hughes dissented in part from the majority’s opinion, which was authored by Judge Stoll, explaining that he would have found all of the challenged claims patent ineligible.