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The life sciences, especially the biotechnology and organic chemistry sectors, have been particularly affected by the recent spate of § 101 jurisprudence that started with Bilski v. Kappos, 561 U.S. 593 (2010) and ended with Alice Corporation v. CLS Bank, 573 U.S. ___ (2014), although there are still cases dealing with the implications of these decisions working their way through the courts. Before Bilski, the standard test for determining whether a process claim was subject-matter eligible was the machine or transformation test, which held that a claim to a process is patentable if it is implemented on a particular machine or it transforms a particular article into a different state or thing. The Supreme Court stated in Bilski that this is not the sole test for determining patent eligibility, but merely a useful guideline. This decision set off a series of cases touching on the judicial exceptions to § 101 that included Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, 566 U.S. ___ (2012) and Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, 569 U.S. ___ (2013), which dealt with the laws of nature and natural phenomena exceptions.
Appeals are the least common responses to a final rejection, accounting for only 6.7% of total office actions responses across all tech centers at the USPTO. The reasons behind this are twofold: First, appeals are significantly more expensive than RCEs and interviews, and, second, they take a considerably longer amount of time to be resolved. Thus, given the expense and time involved in appealing a final rejection, it is no surprise why they are so rare.
One of the most exciting things about the start of the school year for most students is the pre-school year shopping trip to collect all new supplies for the coming year. Is there anything more satisfying than a brand new box of crayons or a freshly-sharpened Ticonderoga #2? We're trying hard to think of something, but are coming up empty. In honor of all of those eager youngsters getting ready to expand their intellectual horizons, we found a few pretty cool school supplies we'd like to share. Our only requirement when putting together this school supply shopping list was that it could only include school supplies that we would have thought were cool and would have actually used if we were still in grade school. We think you'll agree with our choices.
The kids are back in school, the days are getting shorter, and the annual avalanche of pumpkin spice flavoring is bearing down upon us once again. To most of us at Juristat, the best part about fall is the opportunity to pull out the flannels and start layering, but football also seems to be rather exciting to many people. With the beginning of football season just a few short weeks away, we thought we'd get into the spirit by finding several important (i.e., amusing) patents related to the sport.
In July of this year, the US Department of Justice gave its blessing to AB InBev's proposed acquisition of SABMiller, meaning that the world's largest brewery will be allowed to combine its operations with the world's second largest brewery, rendering AB InBev what we call a "super mega brewery" in the legal world.
In a previous posting, we identified the most difficult examiners at the USPTO based on allowance rate. Due to the intense amount of interest that post generated, we decided that we would take our study a step further by measuring the most difficult art units at the USPTO, also based on allowance rate. Due to the reality that two examiners in the same art unit can have wildly differing allowance rates, this measurement is not as “pure” as measuring allowance rates at the individual examiner level. However, an art unit’s average allowance rate does give practitioners at least some idea of how difficult getting an allowance in that art unit is likely to be.
For most patent prosecutors, getting to an allowance is usually the one overarching concern of every prosecution. Of course, prosecutors are also concerned about preserving as much of their claim language as possible to get the broadest protection for their clients. But a patent is better than no patent at all, and, for most, an allowance is a win. Thus, a particular examiner’s allowance rate is a critical measurement of the difficultly of patent prosecution in front of that examiner.