Supreme Court Refuses to Reconsider its Patent Eligibility Doctrine

by Dennis Crouch

As its final act for the 2021-2022 term, the US Supreme Court has denied certiorari in the pending patent eligibility cases of American Axle v. Neapco and Spireon v. Procon.

The Patent Act expressly lists four categories of patentable inventions: “any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefor.”  35 U.S.C. 101. This language is almost identical to the list created for the Patent Act of 1790.  The Supreme Court added further atextual caveats — no abstract ideas; laws of nature; or natural phenomenon.

Continue reading Supreme Court Refuses to Reconsider its Patent Eligibility Doctrine at Patently-O.

SCT: Breyer to Jackson

by Dennis Crouch

Justice Stephen Breyer is retiring today from the Supreme Court after 28 years on the bench.  Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will be sworn-in as his replacement. Congratulations!  Justice Breyer was an administrative law and copyright scholar at Harvard before moving into the judiciary in 1980 (1st Circuit). President Bill Clinton nominated Breyer to the Supreme Court in 1994 on the retirement of Harry Blackmun.

Justice Breyer wrote the opinion for a unanimous court in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc., 566 U.S. 66 (2012).  That decision established the two step eligibility test and broadly construed the concept of a ‘law of nature.’ In Dickinson v. Zurko, 527 U.S. 150 (1999), Justice Breyer wrote the majority opinion holding that the Administrative Procedure Act’s (APA) standards applied to appellate review of USPTO factual findings.  The result is a high level of deference and thus a low chance of overturning a PTAB factual finding on appeal.

Judge Jackson was a D.C. district court judge and then later on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. on the the D.C.  In those roles, she handled a number of administrative cases in the FDA/Patent space.

Continue reading SCT: Breyer to Jackson at Patently-O.