Case Analysis : § 101

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§101 cases are a particularly vexing subject for currently practicing patent attorneys. Specifically, there is a high state of flux with respect to patentable subject matter, causing uncertainty not only for attorneys, but also for inventors, investors, and engineers, whose life blood depends upon the patent system. A “101 conundrum” has resulted from Supreme Court’s creation of ineligible categories of patentable subject matter. These categories are: abstract ideas, laws of nature, and naturally occurring substances . The Supreme Court has neglected to define these categories , and attempts to define them have been rejected . While determining whether a claimed invention is directed to an ineligible category or not should be binary and…show more content…
v. Activision Publ., Inc. Part III provides two historical backgrounds. In the first background of (A), I draw parallels to the Court’s current jurisprudence on §101 and the Court’s jurisprudence prior to the enactment of §103. The second background in (B) is comprised of a detailed history of the ineligible categories and reveals some of the themes that have arisen in the cases. This brief history of patent law specifically pinpoints the genesis of problematic language utilized in Alice and the uncertain implications. In Part IV, I address some of the inconsistencies created by the cases outlined in Part III (B) and attempt to answer some of the key questions raised. At the end of Part IV, I introduce a more qualitative standard for approaching the all-important question of whether subject matter is patent eligible under §101. In Part V, I address recent developments in the law. Specifically, I explain the Court’s reasoning in Mcro, and how it could have benefitted from a more rigorous standard instead of relying on outdated precedent. Lastly, I address the first Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decision following Alice: Ultramercial, Inc. v. Hulu LLC and highlight the impact of this decision and how it will hurt not only so-called “patent trolls”, but small inventors as well. I. ALICE AND ITS IMPACT The Supreme Court established the most recent §101 framework in Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int’l. In
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