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USPTO issues May 2016 update on Subject Matter Eligibility

May 7, 2016

     On May 4th, the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) updated its guidance documents concerning Subject Matter Eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101 (aka. Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank, 573 U.S. ___, 134 S. Ct. 2347 (2014)).

    The USPTO provided:

1.    an index of eligibility examples that briefly explains how each example satisfies the Subject Matter Eligibility inquiry.

2.   new life sciences examples concerning Subject Matter Eligibility.

3.   a revised chart of selected U.S. Supreme Court and Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit cases concerning subject matter eligibility.

     Hopefully, the guidance documents will cause the USPTO's patent examiners to apply the subject matter eligibility test in a more nuanced fashion.  Because, at it stands now, the Alice Storm has decreased dramatically (some say crippled) the allowance of patent applications (and, not surprisingly, the viability of issued patents).

 

District Courts
65.9% of decisions found the patent claims invalid on subject matter eligibility grounds

Federal Circuit
97.3% of decisions found the patent claims invalid on subject matter eligibility grounds


Figures are from this presentation at slide 5, and are current through April 25, 2016.

 

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