Every time the courts re-define a mechanical device as an abstract idea, I struggle with the rationale that is applied to evaluate the claimed subject matter for patent eligibility under s. 101. I am not a computer scientist so the Alice/Bilski notion that a computer programmed to perform a function more quickly than it can be performed by a human sitting at a desk with a pencil and paper is not a technological advance has some appeal. After all, the idea of patents being granted for computerized versions of hoary business practices threatened to overwhelm the PTO. One the other hand, Diehr warned that all inventions can be reduced to underlying principles of nature which, once known make their implementation obvious. Recently, Yu v Apple , Appeal No. 2020-1760 (Fed. Cir., June 11, 2021) exemplifies the dangers of this oversimplification when it is used to render a specialized camera claimed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,611,289 patent-ineligible. This was a split panel decision, with Judge Prost writing for Judge Taranto and Judge Newman dissenting.
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This blog, Patents4Life, does not contain legal advice and is for informational purposes only. Its publication does not create an attorney-client relationship nor is it a solicitation for business. This is the personal blog of Warren Woessner and does not reflect the views of Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner, or any of its attorneys or staff. To the best of his ability, the Author provides current and accurate information at the time of each post, however, readers should check for current information and accuracy.