Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank

Patents protect inventions.  However, patents protect only certain inventions.  In order to be patentable, an invention must fall within one of four categories of patent-eligible subject matter: articles of manufacture, machines, processes, and compositions of matter. 35 U.S.C. §101.  There are some things that are not patentable (i.e. are patent-ineligible subject matter): laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas.

In 2014, in Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International, 573 U.S. 208, 216, 219 (2014), the Supreme Court established a two-part test to determine whether an invention is patent-eligible.  In the first step, a determination is made as to whether the claimed invention falls within one of the categories of patent-ineligible subject matter.  If it does, the second step is performed:  a determination of whether the claimed invention has an inventive concept that transforms the patent-ineligible subject matter into something patentable.


Continue Reading Once Again, Generic Computer Systems That Do Routine Functions are Not Patentable!

By:  Eric Caligiuri

In Amdocs (Israel) Ltd. v. Openet Telecom Inc. et al., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently upheld four software patents against a patent-eligibility challenge, finding that the patents do not claim an “abstract idea.”  The patent challenge was under the frame work set out by the U.S.

The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has applied the Supreme Court’s test for unpatentable abstract ideas to patents covering methods to determine a person’s likelihood of getting certain types of cancer.

In University of Utah Research Foundation v. Ambry Genetics Corp., 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 23692, decided by the Federal Circuit on December 17, 2014, the court addressed the patentability of two types of claims:  compositions and methods.  The composition claims were directed to single strands of DNA called “primers” that correspond to the double-stranded DNA of a gene.  The method claims were directed to diagnostic methods used to determine whether a patient carries a particular gene mutation that carries an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

The plaintiffs were Myriad Genetics, University of Utah, and others.  They discovered the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that, when mutated, cause breast and ovarian cancer.  Myriad developed diagnostic test kits to detect the presence of the mutations.  Myriad patented the natural gene sequences, synthetic primers, and medical test kits.

In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Myriad’s claims to the natural gene sequences were invalid.  Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad, 133 S. Ct. 2107 (2013).  The Court found that the gene sequences were not patent-eligible subject matter, but were instead ineligible natural phenomena.
Continue Reading FEDERAL CIRCUIT CHIPS AWAY AT PATENTABLE SUBJECT MATTER