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Cloned Sheep And Other Patent Eligibility Issues In The U.S.

Last week, in In Re Roslin Institute, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that cloned cattle, sheep, pigs and goats are non-patent eligible subject matter under 35 USC § 101. While the result that these cloned animals cannot be patented may not be surprising, the basis for the court’s finding–that the claimed subject matter was ineligible under the “product of nature” doctrine, has some scratching their heads. A more logical way to understand the decision is to read the court’s holding as finding that the cloned animals are non-patent eligible subject matter because they cannot be distinguished from naturally occurring animals.

The patent application at iss [...]

The Court of Turin on the patentability of software

By ruling of 21 February 2014, the Court of Turin decided a case between the US corporation Rovi and a number of Italian consumers electronics manufacturers. These had produced / imported set-top-boxes equipped with Electronic Programme Guides (EPG) that allegedly made use of the Rovi EPG patents, although without being covered by the Rovi licensing scheme. The Turin Court ruling is interesting as it tackles – one of the very few in the Italian case law – the issue of software patentability, reaching conclusions opposite to those of the UK courts in the Rovi versus Virgin Media saga.

The case had commenced with the filing by the Italian manufacturers of a nullity action against patents [...]

New USPTO Patent Subject Matter Eligibility Guidelines Raise More Questions Than They Answer

The USPTO has issued new Guidance For Determining Subject Matter Eligibility to help examiners apply the principles of Myriad and Prometheus to any claim “reciting or involving laws of nature/natural principles, natural phenomena, and/or natural products.” The guidelines focus on a “signficantly different” test, and include lists of factors that weigh towards and against patent eligibility. The guidelines also include several examples applying the new analytical framework to sample claims. The guidelines do not apply to claims that raise “abstract idea” issues, which are still to be examined under MPEP 2106(II).

This article delves into the details of the guidelines, and you can read a [...]

U.S. Supreme Court Holds Isolated Human Genes May Not Be Patented

On June 13, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in the “ACLU/Myriad” gene patents case (Association For Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc.). In a unanimous opinion authored by Justice Thomas, the Court held that “a naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated, but that cDNA is patent eligible because it is not naturally occurring.” Thus, the Court held that human genes may not be patented.

Background

This case stems from a declaratory judgment action brought to challenge certain claims in seven patents related to Myriad’s discovery of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, and t [...]

Legro Gartneri A/S v. Svegro AB, Stockholms tingsrätt (Stockholm District Court), 26 April 2012

The Stockholm District Court held the Swedish part of a European patent concerning a method of growing two or more plants invalid, due to lack of inventive step. Despite requests for limitations by the proprietor the patent was declared invalid in its entirety. Infringement, exceptions to patentability and prior use rights were also considered by the Court.

A summary of this case will be posted on http://www.Kluweriplaw.com

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Divided Federal Circuit Decision Holds Claims Invalid In CLS Bank v. Alice Corporation

In a divided en banc decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s holding that the claims at issue in CLS Bank v. Alice Corporation are invalid under the “abstract idea” exception to 35 USC § 101. While a majority of the judges agreed that the method and computer-readable medium claims are invalid, they disagreed as to why. Further, the court was evenly split as to whether the systems claims are invalid. (With no majority agreement on that issue, the district court decision is affirmed). Even if this case makes its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, patent-eligibility will remain a murky area of U.S. patent law for the foreseeable future.

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