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In recent years, one of the most important and controversial developments in U.S. patent law relates to the standard for whether an invention is “patent eligible,” or in other words, whether an invention falls within the scope of subject matter that is capable of being patented. Through the late 1990s and into the 2000s, for most kinds of patents, patent eligibility was not really a concern for patent holders. Certainly, as exemplified first by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s decision in State Street Bank & Trust v. Signature Financial Group, 149 F.3d 1368 (Fed. Cir. 1998), and later the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Bilski v. Kappos, 561 U.S. 593 (2010), the patent eligibility of business method patents and software was an issue both in the prosecution and enforcement of patents. However, widespread uncertainty about and ultimate decimation of issued patents was nothing compared to what we have seen in the last five years since the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice v. CLS Bank International, 573 U.S. 208 (2014), which was the culmination of a series of decisions after Bilski, including Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, 566 U.S. 66 (2012), and Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, 569 U.S. 576 (2013).
By Karen Hoffman Lent and Kenneth Schwartz
The DOJ’s intervention, and the judge’s ultimate decision, has exposed tensions between the DOJ and FTC, and within the FTC itself, and public scrutiny is far from over as the case heads to the Ninth Circuit on appeal.
By Scott Graham
Fifteen states had argued that they and their public universities shouldn’t have to expose their patents to validity review at the patent trial and appeal board.
By Jeffrey S. Ginsberg and Abhishek Bapna
Federal Circuit Finds District Court Erred in Analysis of Motivation to Combine Prior Art References, Yet Affirms Ultimate Conclusion of Non-obviousness Due to the Lack of a Reasonable Expectation of Success
Federal Circuit Rules that Issue Preclusion Bars a Party from Arguing in an Appeal of an Inter Partes Review Decision an Issue Previously Decided in Another Inter Partes Review Proceeding that Was Not Appealed
By Wesley Overson, Otis Littlefield, Mat Swiderski, and Stephanie Blij
Since the U.S. Supreme Court decided Mayo and Myriad, the Federal Circuit has expanded the holdings and invalidated more patents directed to biological discoveries. If the newly discovered correlations and properties of what is found in nature cannot be patented, what strategies for protection are left for companies doing biological research?