“Anything Under the Sun that is Made by Man”

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​What you need. What we know.™ – Patents: Non-Patentable Subject Matter

“Anything under the sun that is made by man” is patentable. Or so the US Supreme Court once quoted in a 1980 case involving an “invention of a human-made, genetically engineered bacterium capable of breaking down crude oil[.]” Emphasis on the word “made”; abstract ideas are non-patentable subject matter.

Most recently in the spotlight in the area of non-patentable subject matter, 35 U.S.C. § 101, is the Court’s decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, 573 U.S. _____ (2014). Specifically, the Alice decision deals with computerized business method patent claims. The Court held that the claims directed to the abstract idea of intermediated settlement in financial transactions are not patent eligible under Section 101.

Other reasons a patent may be found invalid include:

  • The “invention” is not novel. 35 U.S.C. § 102
  • Even if the “invention” is novel, the advance over existing practices the “invention” provides is so miniscule as to be considered obvious to “a person having ordinary skill in the art to which the claimed invention pertains.” 35 U.S.C. § 103  

Do you have an invention or inventions that you think is/are patent-worthy? Consult a patent attorney that can help you in developing your IP portfolio.

What you need. What we know.™ – Patents: Non-Patentable Subject Matter

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About the Author:

Barbara Alexander is licensed to practice law in California (2002), Georgia (2010), and Nevada (2001). Her passion for intellectual property dates back to the mid-90s when she returned from living in Dublin, Ireland to work for a Boston-based venture capital firm, investing in life sciences and technology companies. Attending law school in Washington, D.C. at Washington College of Law, American University from 1998-2001, Barbara’s legal training focused on federal law – of which trademark, copyright, and patent are a significant part. Barbara started Alexander Legal LLC in January 2014 to offer clients more personalized service at a better price point than larger firms can offer.
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