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New Guidance from PTO on eligibility is imminent

Jim Ruttler, Patent Attorney

Posted Monday, October 27, 2014 by Jim Ruttler

The Patent Office has been stating for a little over a month now that revised guidance on patent eligibility will be released at the end of October. It is the end of October and I haven’t seen anything yet, but I’m monitoring the press closely for any information on when it will be released.

Recall that the Supreme Court held in Alice that abstract ideas were not patentable. The court didn’t provide much by way of specifics as to what constituted an abstract idea, so the lower courts and the patent office have been struggling with the standards to apply when examining patent claims. The PTO originally said that it was business as usual, but then quickly did an about face and began aggressively withdrawing allowances and issuing new rejections on the basis of Alice. The rejections essentially amount to bald assertions that claims are unpatentable as being abstract because they are abstract.

Since then, the PTO has been stating that the new guidance would walk back the aggressive approach to Alice and provide a simplified test for eligibility. I as well as thousands of others are eagerly awaiting the release to understand what the policy of the PTO will be toward patent eligibility in the years to come.

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