AAM v. Neapco Part II– Judge Moore’s Dissent – Nothing More = Nevermore?

My first post on this troubling decision is dated August 3rd. If you have not already, please read it before you read this one. It focuses on the two judge majority opinion, that found that a claim to a method for manufacturing a “propshaft” –that I think is the same thing as an automobile’s  driveshaft—modified so that bad vibrations are reduced, is patent ineligible as a natural phenomenon (or perhaps also as an abstract idea).

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AAM v. Neapco: Method of Manufacturing Claim Gets the 101 Hook(e)

In American Axle and Manufacturing v. Neapco Holdings LLC, Appeal No. 2018-1763 (Fed. Cir., July 31, 2020), a split panel of Judges Dyk, Moore and Taranto, on rehearing, slightly modified their earlier opinion that most of the claims of U.S. Pat. No. 7,774,911 are invalid as an attempt to claim a law of nature, namely Hooke’s Law. The majority seems confused at times as to whether the claims are directed to an abstract idea or to a law of nature. See slip op. at 18 and 25. Moore strongly dissented. The claim that warranted the most discussion is Claim 22:

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Dana-Farber v. Ono – Co-Inventorship Rules

The pun is intentional, since in Dana-Farber Cancer Inst. v. Ono Pharm. Co., Ltd, Appeal No. 2019-2050 (Fed. Cir., July 14, 2020), a Fed. Cir. Panel of Judges Lourie, Newman and Stoll, Lourie writing, affirmed a district court ruling that two collaborators should have been named as co-inventors with the four named inventors on U.S. patent no. 7,595,048 and five progeny patents. This mercifully compact opinion provides a very good summary of the law of co-inventorship, particularly in a complex area of biotechnology with a number of potential collaborators who interacted at different times to provide different contributions to the conception of claimed subject matter. Claim 3 of the ‘048 patent is deceptively simple:

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USPTO Announces Fast-Track Ex Parte Appeals Pilot Program

July 1, 2020 USPTO Press Release:

“WASHINGTON — The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced plans for the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) to begin accepting petitions for expedited resolution of ex parte appeals. The ‘Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program’ launches July 2, 2020. The required petition fee is $400.  ‘The Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program serves as an extension of the Track One prioritized examination program, which has proven to be very popular with our nation’s innovators,’ said Andrei Iancu, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. ‘For the first time in USPTO history, applicants will be able to speed up both patent examination and ex parte appeals, thus obtaining decisions on their most important inventions in about half the time of a typical application.’

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