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Examiner Citations of Smartgene, Cyberfone Drop After McRo Memo

After Alice, the USPTO's various guidance memoranda included references to non-precedential Federal Circuit decisions, particularly Smartgene, Cyberfone, and Planet Bingo, as examples of patent-ineligible subject matter. ...more

Mozilla and Stanford Law Panel: What Role Does the First Amendment Have in the Patent Law?

On April 17, Mozilla and Stanford Law held a panel to discuss the role of the First Amendment in the patent law, and specifically the impact on the patent eligibility of software and genes sequences....more

Heads Up: The Federal Circuit Sees Patent Eligibility in Knowing Which Way to Look

The most significant Federal Circuit decision in March was Thales Visionix, Inc. v. United States, another case finding eligible subject matter. What distinguishes this case—and demonstrates the inherently subjective...more

AliceStorm Update for Q1 2017

With the close of the first quarter of 2017, there have been some interesting patterns developing in AliceStorm. Let’s start with the big picture...more

AliceStorm Update February 2017

As many of my readers noticed, I didn't publish any of my own blogs in January and February. As it turned out, I suffered from a peculiar form of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), what I would call SMIAD: Subject Matter...more

Alice Brings a Mix of Gifts For 2016 Holidays

Like the odd aunt whose holiday gifts can range from the wonderful to the recyclable, in 2016 Alice brought both good and bad tidings. Let’s start with the nice ones....more

USPTO's Patent Subject Matter Eligibility Roundtable on Dec. 5, 2015

On December 5, 2016 the USPTO will hold its second Patent Subject Matter Eligibility Roundtable to discuss issues in patent eligibility. The USPTO published a list of eighteen questions in anticipation of the event, dealing...more

Busting the Myth of the Unlimited RCEs

In June, the Government Accounting Office (GAO) issued a performance audit of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), “Patent Office Should Define Quality, Reassess Incentives, and Improve Clarity.” The report was...more

AliceStorm Update for October 2016

The Federal Circuit's recent decision in McRO has been interpreted by many in the patent community as a further signal that the so-called "pendulum" is swinging back to a more favorable position for patentees. There is some...more

MAZ Encryption Technologies: The Proper Way to Decide a Rule 12(c) Motion for Ineligible Subject Matter

Given the volume of district court decisions regarding Section 101, I typically don't find ones that stand out enough to warrant discussion. But last week's decision by Judge Stark in MAZ Encryption Technologies LLC v....more

More Lessons From McRo

My previous blog on McRo focused on the direct aspects of the decision, but there are other excellent points that the court makes and that can be derived from the opinion, and that should play an important role in how the...more

Bad Science Makes Bad Patent Law—No Science Makes It Worse (Part II)

In Part I, I explained some general criteria for laws of nature, considering the prototypes of Newton's laws and Einstein's E=mc2. Now I'll turn to whether there are laws of nature in biology. Biological generalizations,...more

McRo: Preemption Matters After All

The Federal Circuit has released its long-awaited opinion in McRo v. Bandai, reversing the lower court’s decision that the claims were ineligible subject matter. McRo’s invention in U.S. 6,307,576 was a method used in 3D...more

Bad Science Makes Bad Patent Law—No Science Makes It Worse (Part I)

I believe that the opinions of the Federal Circuit do not reflect a deep understanding of science and technology. In this blog I'll focus specifically on the issue of laws of nature. It appears that the Federal Circuit...more

AliceStorm in the Dog Days of Summer

Over the past two months, the trends I've discussed in my previous blogs on AliceStorm have continued and become more entrenched. In particular, the Federal Circuit has been quite active, issuing nine decisions since late...more

Will the USPTO’s “Patents 4 Patients” Program Even Make It Off the "Cancer Moonshot" Launch Pad?

The White House recently announced the Cancer Moonshot Task Force, an effort to “focus on making the most of Federal investments, targeted incentives, private sector efforts from industry and philanthropy, patient engagement...more

Two Years After Alice: A Survey of the Impact of a "Minor Case" (Part 2)

AliceStorm at the USPTO - While AliceStorm's effect is most visible in the courts, because of their public nature, the real impact is largely unseen: it is the widespread rejection of patent applications by the USPTO. ...more

Two Years After Alice: A Survey of the Impact of a "Minor Case" (Part 1)

Two years ago this Sunday, the Supreme Court in Alice Corp. Pty Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int'l addressed a relatively narrow issue: does a claim reciting a generic computer implementation transform an abstract idea into a...more

The Mind as Computer Metaphor: Benson and the Mistaken Application of Mental Steps to Software (Part 5)

Part V. The Fictional Mental Steps Doctrine Does Not Apply To Programmed General Purpose Computers - The fictional form of the mental steps doctrine is inapplicable to digital computers and computer-implemented...more

The Mind as Computer Metaphor: Benson and the Mistaken Application of Mental Steps to Software (Part 4)

Part IV. The Continued Application Of Mental Steps To Software Inventions - Unfortunately, the Supreme Court’s misstatement of the relationship between computers and minds continues to this day to be cited as authority...more

Update on Patent Eligibility Decisions for First Quarter, 2016

Here are the updated numbers for #Alicestorm in the first quarter of 2016. First, the overall trend of decisions...more

USPTO Updates Alice Guidance with Examiner Instructions, More Work Needed

On May 4, the USPTO issued a new memorandum for patent examiners, “Formulating a Subject Matter Eligibility Rejection and Evaluating the Applicant's Response to a Subject Matter Eligibility Rejection” (“Examiner...more

The Mind as Computer Metaphor: Benson and the Mistaken Application of Mental Steps to Software (Part 1)

Of the three recognized judicial exceptions to Section 101—laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas—none has proved more resistant to reasoned judicial analysis than the last. From its inception in Gottschalk v....more

The Mind as Computer Metaphor: Benson and the Mistaken Application of Mental Steps to Software (Part 3)

Part III. Functionalism: A Philosophical Argument In Support Of The Functional Equivalence Of Mental Steps And Computer - Even if UDC did not support the Solicitor General’s argument that “the functions themselves are...more

The Mind as Computer Metaphor: Benson and the Mistaken Application of Mental Steps to Software (Part 2)

The fictional form of the mental steps doctrine arose in Benson, where the Court stated: A digital computer, as distinguished from an analog computer, is that which operates on data expressed in digits, solving a problem...more

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