Alex Wolcott

Latest Articles

On January 7, 2019, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) released its 2019 Revised Patent Subject Matter Eligibility Guidance (“Guidance”), which revises the procedures for determining whether a patent claim is directed towards a judicial exception. Based upon post-Alice Federal Circuit decisions, the Guidance modifies the grouping of abstract ideas, and adds an intermediate step to determine whether a judicial exception is integrated into a practical application of the judicial exception.…
Following a rejection by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) under section 102(f) for a rehabilitative dog harness, the Federal Circuit recently affirmed the rejection because the applicant “did not himself solely invent the subject matter sought to be patented.”  In re VerHoef, No. 2017-1976 (Fed. Cir. May 3, 2018). Jeff VerHoef built a prototype harness to remediate walking difficulties that his dog developed post-surgery.  VerHoef recognized that the harness would work…
Under 35 U.S.C. § 120, an application claiming benefit to the filing date of an earlier application must include a “specific reference” to the earlier filed application. In Droplets, Inc. v. E*TRADE Bank, No. 2016-2504, 2016-2602 (April 19, 2018), the Federal Circuit considered the use of incorporation by reference when asserting priority claims. The Federal Circuit’s decision highlights the inapplicability of incorporation by reference as a means of asserting priority and the need…
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) recently released a Report summarizing the comments received during two roundtable discussions that the USPTO hosted in 2016 on patent subject matter eligibility. Since 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued four major decisions that have transformed subject matter eligibility law, and the USPTO has responded with a variety of measures that attempt to ensure that 35 U.S.C. § 101 is implemented in a way that is…
Last week, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) issued two decisions reversing final rejections under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Rather than performing an in-depth analysis of the claimed subject matter, the Board based these reversals on an incomplete subject matter eligibility analysis by the examiner. These appeals originated from Art Unit 3690, which focuses on finance business methods. In December 2016, the USPTO released three fact patterns to demonstrate complete analyses of eligible and…
As a follow-up from November’s roundtable discussion, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) held its second roundtable discussion on the current state of subject matter eligibility under 35 U.S.C. §101.  This meeting focused on the legal boundaries of subject matter eligibility, versus earlier considerations of technicalities and challenges in applying the recent developments in §101.  As expected, this roundtable featured a number of leading corporate stakeholders, including Intel, Amazon, Oracle, Myriad, Google,…
Following the recent Federal Circuit decisions in BASCOM and McRO, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) responded by providing all stakeholders with a helpful memorandum discussing these cases and how they affect patent subject matter eligibility. In addition, the USPTO continues its outreach efforts to identify where gaps exist in its guidance, and to incorporate public feedback into subsequent guidance. On Monday, November 14, the USPTO hosted the first of two roundtable discussions