USPTO Issues Report on Current State of Patent Eligibility LawJune 29, 2022

Earlier this week the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a report to Congress regarding public comments and insight into the state of patent subject matter eligibility. See report here. Patent eligibility law has been complicated by recent Supreme Court decisions like Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank (2014) and Mayo v. Prometheus (2012). Even more recent, the Federal Circuit’s case American Axle v. Neapco complicated the law even more by holding that a drive shaft was ineligible for “being directed to the natural law of vibration.” This case is currently in the Supreme Court docket. Expressing concern over the lack of clarity over patent eligibility, Congress asked the USPTO in March 2021 to solicit public comments and report back.  

Through the over 100 different comment submissions in the Federal Register Notices last year, the USPTO was able to compile a few general concerns regarding the current state of patent eligibility law. The upmost concern amongst all commentors was that the law “needs to be clear, predictable, and consistently applied.” Those who support the current state of the law (generally software companies involved in costly litigation) noted that the law has allowed them to resolve more efficiently, or in some instances avoid, costly and abusive litigation. Those in support also noted that the law can currently enhance access to certain medical technologies. Those who are critical of the current state of the law (generally patent practitioners and companies involved in life sciences) noted that “making patents less available and rights less predictable, inhibits investment in new technologies and companies.”   

The USPTO notes that it will continue to provide the opportunity to submit additional feedback and suggestions regarding the state of patent eligibility and solicit feedback through listening sessions.

Ashley Holland is an intellectual property attorney in the MVS Biotechnology and Chemical Practice Group. To learn more, visit our MVS website, or contact Ashley directly via email.

← Return to Filewrapper

Stay in Touch

Receive the latest news and updates from us and our attorneys.

Sign Up