The USPTO Announces New Guidelines for Determining Subject Matter Eligibility Under 35 U.S.C. §101 in View of Myriad, Prometheus and Chakrabarty

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March 10, 2014 – On March 4, 2014, the United States Patent & Trademark Office issued guidelines for the examination of “all claims (i.e., machine, composition, manufacture and process claims) reciting or involving laws of nature/natural principles, natural phenomena, and/or natural products” in view of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Myriad, Prometheus and Chakrabarty. The goal of the Examiners is to determine “whether a claim reflects a significant difference from what exists in nature and thus is eligible, or whether a claim is effectively drawn to something that is naturally occurring.”

The guidelines emphasize “the Office’s reliance on Chakrabarty’s criterion for eligibility of natural products (i.e., whether the claimed product is a non-naturally occurring product of human ingenuity that is markedly different from naturally occurring products)” and that “claims reciting or involving natural products should be examined for a marked difference under Chakrabarty.

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