What is Patentable in the US?
For 40 years, this part of the Patent Act hardly came up in litigation and patent examination. Other parts of the Act were used to weed out things not eligible for patent protection. When the eligibility exceptions were finally invoked in the Supreme Court, it was an effort to define the boundaries of what is not patentable. In its rulings, the Court created a list of things that are not patentable, including laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas.
Human embryonic stem cell patents
There have been several lawsuits challenging the right to patent stem cells from human embryos. A ruling in the UK invalidated a patent for a method for generating corneal tissue from ES cells. In contrast, the Chinese applied for a patent for a method of separating and cultivating ES cells. The case has become a precedent for other countries to follow. Here are some of the key issues surrounding the patents.
Patents for hESCs are controversial because they usually originate from human embryos, and therefore cannot be considered socially or ethically acceptable patent objects. However, a Japanese citizen, Tsuneo Kido, developed an invention with hESCs that was patented in several countries. While the European Patent Office approved his invention, the patent was rejected by the Beijing Intellectual Property Court and the Patent Reexamination Board of CNIPA for its commercial and industrial use of human embryos.
While the European Patent Office ruled in favor of ReNeuron in 2007, the UK has refused to grant any patents for human embryonic stem cells. The European Patent Office’s denial of human embryonic stem cell patents is based on an interpretation of the European Parliament’s Directive on the Legal Protection of Biotechnological Inventions. While the European Patent Office rejected the patent application, there is a precedent in the United States.
The US and Japanese stem cell groups published papers on iPS cells at the same time. Both described different methods to make iPS cells. Since each method has its own unique features, it would be patentable. However, the US patent application would require both the methods to be published separately. The patent application would cover one of them as well as the other. The case is complex because patents can be issued on iPS cells and adult stem cells.
While a number of countries have patent laws for human embryonic stem cells, China has one of the most robust. As of June 2019, China has filed 9292 hESC patent applications, ranking first among the world’s patent offices. Yet, only 246 of those patents have been approved for licensing. The three progressive regulations have largely contributed to the patentability of hESCs. The guidelines for patent examination are critical for determining if a particular invention qualifies for patent protection.
Software patent eligibility
In the United States, software claims are analyzed by applying the Alice framework. This framework considers laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas in deciding whether an idea is patentable or not. Computer-implemented inventions and software fall under this category. However, it can still be difficult to determine if a software claim is patentable. Below is a discussion of the Alice framework and the different factors to consider when assessing software patent eligibility.
The USPTO has generally ruled that software patent applications that implement technical improvements are eligible for patent protection. This means that software that affects the way a computer works or increases its speed or capability is patentable. It also doesn’t routinely reject software patent applications that enhance the security of a computer. However, certain kinds of new data storage, encryption, and processing techniques can be patented. In the JPO, software patent eligibility is less stringent than in the US.
The federal government grants patents for new, useful, and non-obvious inventions. Patenting software, however, is not as easy as a computer-implemented method. In other words, a computer-implemented method, which includes steps of X, Y, Z, etc., may be patentable. In the US, however, software patents may not cover the basic functions of a software application. Instead, patent protection for such software may be much more difficult.
There are many differences between the EU, US, and JPO. The USPTO and the EU have different criteria for software patent eligibility. The U.S. is more rigorous, whereas the European Patent Office is ambiguous. To apply for a software patent, you must employ more technical terms and be updated with recent precedent. Both the EU and US provisions are highly abstract and mostly interpreted by cases. This makes it difficult to establish a firm legal foundation for a new computer software patent.
Plant patent eligibility
In the US, a plant patent is available for new strains of asexually reproduced plants. This means that they can reproduce themselves without seeds or bulbs. Any person can file a plant patent application if they discover a new species or strain of a plant. New plants cannot have been cultivated previously. Furthermore, only one claim may be granted per plant. The patent is valid for 20 years, so you must act quickly.
Before filing a plant patent application, it is necessary to carefully examine the details of the new plant. A complete description of the plant must include information about its parentage, genealogy, and asexual reproduction. The plant’s color should also be precisely identified, as a color code sheet will be included with the patent application. The seedling conditions should be clearly described, to establish that the plant was not grown in an uncultivated area.
New plant patent laws affect the ability of New Zealanders to obtain protection for their new plant varieties. The new plant patent law is not aligned with other countries’ plant variety rights laws and therefore requires the New Zealander to carefully consider if he or she wants to protect his or her new varieties overseas. Moreover, it is important to ensure that the protection is obtained early, as it can be difficult to overcome a claim for patentability if it has already been published.
The novelty of a plant patent is destroyed by use, publication, or availability to the public in any country more than 12 months before the US filing date. A plant patent is limited to one plant and a single genome, so a plant derived from a sport or mutant is unlikely to have the same genotype as the original plant. Regardless of its source, it expires 20 years after the date of filing.
Utility patents have been issued since the 1980s. They can protect the components of a plant and certain processes. In the GMO industry, utility patents protect specific plant elements that are used in agriculture. Utility patents also protect plant-based chemicals and processes. These include seeds that resist pesticides and a variety of plant-based chemicals. These plants are considered GMOs. There are a few exceptions to the patent eligibility requirements, but the majority of US applicants are granted a plant patent.
Natural principles not patentable
The wide scope of patented subject matter has propelled the US to the forefront of cutting-edge technologies. However, it has also spawned various controversies and defining case law. Currently, the US Supreme Court is grappling with the question of the scope of patentability with regard to natural laws and scientific principles. Here, we’ll examine some of the issues surrounding this issue. The USPTO has previously rejected claims that relate to natural principles.
The eligibility of a claim is determined by the extent to which a scientific principle has been used in the invention. An invention that cites a scientific principle as a foundation will not qualify for patent protection. However, an invention that incorporates a natural law or scientific principle may be patented. The Supreme Court has yet to define this test. Regardless of the test, however, is meant to prevent preemption by the public.
An effective patenting strategy should focus on the improved properties of natural products. Patents should cover optimized formulations, new uses, or advanced preparation methods for natural products. To maximize the chances of success, claims must be written with sufficient significance and scope. Furthermore, they should not be generalized applications of natural products. This way, they can be effectively protected. It’s best to review your patenting strategy periodically to ensure that you’re maximizing your chances of securing a patent.
Another case to consider is that of Gottschalk v. Benson. This case involved converting BCD (binary code) numerals to pure binary. However, the patent was found to be ineligible because the subject matter was a general principle rather than a specific application. In this case, the court ruled that a general principle is inherently an abstract truth that cannot be patented.