Author - aaron.morrow

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Patent Office Issues New Examination Guidelines for Subject Matter Eligibility
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The USPTO and Laws of Nature, Natural Products and Natural Phenomena
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Abstract Ideas and the USPTO

Patent Office Issues New Examination Guidelines for Subject Matter Eligibility

On December 16, 2014, the United States Patent and Trademark Office published new guidelines for determining patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101. These guidelines do not have the force of law, but nevertheless establish the specific procedures that the Examiners apply during examination of patent applications. These guidelines are effective immediately, supersede previous guidelines regarding nature-based products, and supplement previous guidelines regarding abstract ideas. Based on Supreme Court decisions, the new guidelines set forth an analytical framework that is designed to “promote[] examination efficiency and consistency across all technologies” and is particularly relevant for patents directed to natural products, software, and business methods.

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The USPTO and Laws of Nature, Natural Products and Natural Phenomena

New Approach to Patentable Subject Matter

The United States Patent Office periodically issues guidance for examiners often in response to a recent court decision or new statute.  These guidelines (the Guidance) do not have the force of law but nevertheless establish the specific procedures that the Examiners apply during examination of patent applications.

Examination guidelines were issued on 4 March 2014  to address two  recent court decisions related to the subject matter eligibility of certain claims under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Examiners will use tests described in the Guidance to determine the patent eligibility of any claim related to laws of nature, natural phenomena and natural products. Read More

Abstract Ideas and the USPTO

The Patent Office’s First Take on CLS Bank v. Alice

On 25 June 2014, new examination guidelines (the Guidance) from the United States Patent Office were issued in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International. This case addressed the subject matter eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101 of claims related to an abstract idea.  The Guidance provides preliminary instructions for analysing claims involving an abstract idea and its applicability to technology areas, including the software and business method fields, which are worthy of attention from applicants.

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