By ruling of 21 February 2014, the Court of Turin decided a case between the US corporation Rovi and a number of Italian consumers electronics manufacturers. These had produced / imported set-top-boxes equipped with Electronic Programme Guides (EPG) that allegedly made use of the Rovi EPG patents, although without being covered by the Rovi licensing scheme….

The USPTO has issued new Guidance For Determining Subject Matter Eligibility to help examiners apply the principles of Myriad and Prometheus to any claim “reciting or involving laws of nature/natural principles, natural phenomena, and/or natural products.” The guidelines focus on a “signficantly different” test, and include lists of factors that weigh towards and against patent eligibility. The guidelines also include several…

On June 13, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in the “ACLU/Myriad” gene patents case (Association For Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc.). In a unanimous opinion authored by Justice Thomas, the Court held that “a naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been…

The Stockholm District Court held the Swedish part of a European patent concerning a method of growing two or more plants invalid, due to lack of inventive step. Despite requests for limitations by the proprietor the patent was declared invalid in its entirety. Infringement, exceptions to patentability and prior use rights were also considered by…

In a divided en banc decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s holding that the claims at issue in CLS Bank v. Alice Corporation are invalid under the “abstract idea” exception to 35 USC § 101. While a majority of the judges agreed that the method and computer-readable medium claims are invalid, they disagreed as to why. Further, the court was evenly split as to whether the systems claims are invalid. (With no majority agreement on that issue, the district court decision is affirmed). Even if this case makes its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, patent-eligibility will remain a murky area of U.S. patent law for the foreseeable future.

On April 15, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in one of the most controversial and publicized biotech patent cases, the “ACLU/Myriad” gene patenting case (formally, The Association For Molecular Pathology, et al. v. USPTO et al.). While it is nearly impossible to predict the outcome of a Supreme Court case from…

by Miriam Büttner On 27 November 2012 the German Federal Supreme Court (BGH) decided on the ethical problematical question, if neural precursor cells which origin from human stem cells are patentable or not (case no. X ZR 58/07). Background of the decision: Subject of this BGH decision is the validity of German patent no. 197…

An invention entailing a talking doll with the ability to send e-mails was held to be unpatentable. The Board of Appeal rejected applicant’s argument that the invention was in the technical field of stuffed animal toys or dolls. There was no contribution in that field because the claim features did not change the toy’s design…

On November 30, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in the “ACLU/Myriad” gene patenting case (Association for Molecular Pathology v. Genetics, Inc.), taking on the debate over the patent-eligibility of human genes. The Court will review the August 16, 2012 Federal Circuit decision that held for the second time that Myriad’s claims directed to isolated DNA…

EPO practice on patenting plants knows two exclusions that are defined in Art. 53(b) EPC: the exclusion of “plant varieties”, and the exclusion of “essentially biological processes for the production of plants”. The recent referral G2/12 may change this practice and may lead to the exclusion of plants depending on how they were made. The…