Case Analysis : § 101

1150 Words Dec 4th, 2014 5 Pages
§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 immutable as a matter of philosophy, the Court’s approach has shifted towards a more nuanced, less rigorous methodology. With due respect to the Supreme Court, the Court’s §101 jurisprudence is replete with inconsistencies and fails to provide practicing attorneys or judges with adequate guidance.
This article addresses the “101 Conundrum” created by Supreme Court precedent and attempts to develop a framework for resolving patentability under §101 focused toward a more qualitative approach. Part II explains the current rule as articulated in the most current §101 cases and gives a brief introduction to the uncertainty created by recent precedent. As part of this introduction, I pose a hypothetical application of Alice and a puzzling result…

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