1. Will Alice Become the New Markman?

    Posted on 10.05.18 Michael Hinrichsen, on Articles, Patent Related Court Rulings, Recent News & Articles

    Buried amidst the flurry of recent Federal Circuit subject matter eligibility decisions is a question that could significantly change how Section 101 is applied in patent litigation.  Specifically, the issue is whether performing Step 2 of the Mayo/Alice test can require a factual inquiry.  If upheld, this interpretation of Alice could make patent litigation much more complicated and expensive.  In fact, Section 101 inquiries could become convoluted mini-trials in their own right – similar to how Markman hearings are performed today.

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  2. Rising Temperatures – Federal Circuit Warming to Patent Eligibility of Medical Diagnostics

    Posted on 18.04.18 Michael Hinrichsen, on Articles, Patent Related Court Rulings, Patent Trends & Activity

    For the first time since the Mayo Supreme Court decision of 2012, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) in Exergen vs Kaz has ruled in favor of the patent eligibility of a medical diagnostic invention.  While nonprecedential, this 2-to-1 decision is noteworthy for the guidance it provides to patent professionals seeking to protect diagnostic inventions.  Specifically, it instructs that diagnostic methods may be eligible for patent coverage so long as they use unconventional methods for detecting analytes.  Additionally, the Exergen decision offers another endorsement of the view put forth recently by the CAFC in Berkheimer v. HP and Aatrix v. Green Shades, that the inventive concept analysis that can arise in step-2 of the Mayo/Alice test is at least in part a factual question and not just a question of law.  This factual vs legal debate continues to have reverberations throughout the patent law field, affecting both the manner in which courts conduct 101 examinations as well as the conclusions they reach.

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  3. Court Begins Year with Consistent 101 Decisions, But Then Adds Confusion

    Posted on 28.02.18 Michael Hinrichsen, on Patent Related Court Rulings, Patent Trends & Activity, Recent News & Articles

    Since the start of the year, the CAFC has handed down four cases in rapid succession relating to patent subject matter eligibility – the precedential Finjan vs Blue Coat, Core Wireless vs LG electronics, and Berkheimer vs HP Inc. decisions and the non-precedential Move Inc. vs Real Estate Alliance decision.  In each, the validity of patents relating to software inventions was challenged, in part on the grounds that the inventions covered abstract ideas (an ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101).  In the first three cases released (Finjan, Core Wireless, and Move Inc.), the CAFC displayed refreshing consistency in their evaluation of the ‘abstractness’ of patents, offering a glimmer of hope that the court may finally be offering a clear path forward, in particular with regards to step one of the Alice/Mayo test.  Unfortunately, that hope was dashed in Berkheimer, in which the CAFC reverted to a different procedure for evaluating the abstractness of patents.  This inconsistency in the application of the Alice/Mayo test sows confusion in the patent field, and continues to make the drafting of ‘101 – resistant’ patents more difficult.

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  4. Be Specific: Further Thoughts from Two-Way Media to Avoid a 101 Misstep

    Posted on 30.01.18 Michael Hinrichsen, on Articles, Patent Related Court Rulings, Patent Trends & Activity

    Developments on the topic of patent subject matter ineligibility continue to progress rapidly.  In this piece we revisit the Federal Circuit Court decision in Two-Way Media v. Comcast.  This case provides comments in part on the role the patent specification should play when looking for inventive concepts in the second step of the Alice/Mayo test.  Two-Way also serves as an important reminder to patent professionals to avoid conflation of the § 101 subject matter eligibility inquiry with § 102 and § 103 novelty and obviousness considerations.

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  5. Navigating the Patent Eligibility Turnstile

    Posted on 21.11.17 Michael Hinrichsen, on Patent Related Court Rulings, Patent Trends & Activity, Recent News & Articles

    On October 18, the CAFC Circuit Court delivered a verdict in Smart Sys. Innov. v Chicago Trans. Auth. that adds an interesting new wrinkle for determining the question of patent subject matter eligibility.  In a split decision, the court ruled that several contested patents held by SSI were directed to an abstract idea following the Mayo/Alice test for determining patent eligibility, and were therefore invalid.  The dissenting opinion, penned by Judge Linn, offered an interesting, and in our opinion, reasonable, new interpretation for the Mayo/Alice test for determining patent eligibility.

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  6. Rise of the Machines: The Ever-Evolving Impact of Artificial Intelligence on IP Law

    Posted on 24.10.17 Michael Hinrichsen, on Articles, Patent Trends & Activity

    Long heralded as a technology just around the corner, artificial intelligence is finally making an impact in today’s world.  As the technology progresses and becomes more widely adopted, routine mental tasks will become increasingly automated, so much so that nearly 50% of the jobs currently performed by humans are predicted to be automated in the future. In this article, we examine the impact artificial intelligence is having on intellectual property law today, and how this technology will likely affect the field in the future.

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  7. Patent Exhaustion and Pharmaceuticals

    Posted on 22.08.17 Michael Hinrichsen, on Articles, Biotech/Pharma, Patent Related Court Rulings

    On May 30th, the Supreme Court ruled in Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark International, Inc. that all patent rights are automatically exhausted upon the sale of a product irrespective of contract stipulations and regardless of whether the sale is made domestically or internationally. While the dispute in this case involved articles of manufacture, the decision has strong implications for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical Industry, and may make it easier for drugs sold legally overseas to make their way back to the US market.

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