USPTO Issues Updated Guidance on Patent Eligibility

August 03, 2015
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Patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101 has been an area of significant change in recent years.  Several Supreme Court decisions have changed our understanding of what does and does not qualify for patent protection.  These decisions, in turn, have required a change in the procedures implemented by the USPTO during the examination of patents. The USPTO has now issued its most recent update to its Guidance on Patent Subject Matter Eligibility.  

The current guidance (referred to by the USPTO as the "July 2015 Update: Subject Matter Eligibility") updates the guidelines published in December 2014, based on public comment.  This update is effectively the seventh new or updated guidance provided by the USPTO since 2009, when the Supreme Court decided Bilski v. Kappos.  The newly updated guidance provides additional direction regarding a number of Federal Circuit cases that have been decided since the last guidelines, and addresses comments from the public relating to the previous guidelines.  The update also includes additional example claims, with attendant patent-eligibility analysis, that build on the twenty examples provided in previous iterations of the guidance (the new guidance also include a handy reference for all of the examples).

As part of the ongoing process of refining the guidelines, the USPTO is continuing to accept comments, which can be submitted "by electronic mail message over the Internet addressed"

The July 2015 update and related materials can be found here.  All of the prior guidance is available here


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