Bloomberg Law
Feb. 10, 2021, 10:55 AM

What’s Eligible for a Patent? The Section 101 Muddle Explained

Perry Cooper
Perry Cooper
Legal Reporter

A series of U.S. Supreme Court decisions from the 2010s have left the law on patent eligibility—whether an invention actually qualifies as an invention—in disarray.

Patent examiners at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and lower courts have struggled to apply the Supreme Court’s case law, which doesn’t provide objective guidelines or define terms. That spells uncertainty for parties seeking to defend or invalidate patents.

The Supreme Court has passed on repeated calls from the nation’s top patent court to provide clarity on patentable subject matter, but has two more opportunities to take up the issue in particularly decisive cases. ...

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