Court Split Over Driveshaft Patent Muddies Eligibility Question

Aug. 7, 2020, 8:41 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court has passed up many chances to revisit the question of what software and life sciences inventions are eligible for patent protection. But a recent Federal Circuit decision on mechanical inventions may end that streak.

In October, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit extended the Supreme Court’s eligibility test to American Axle & Manufacturing‘s method for manufacturing noise-reducing driveshafts, finding it didn’t warrant a patent. The court’s active judges declined a full court review by a 6–6 vote July 31, in a order with five separate opinions.

In those five opinions, four judges ...

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