Christopher P. King

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[This post was updated on Jan. 17, 2019] On Jan. 4, the Patent Office released the long-awaited 2019 Revised Patent Subject Matter Eligibility Guidance, which governs the Office’s examination procedure for evaluation of patent subject matter eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The new guidance distinctly changes the tone of § 101 discourse to one more in favor of eligibility than in years past.  In the same way that the tone of prior Office…
Much ink has been spilled in recent times on the standards for, and outcomes of, patent eligibility questions under § 101.  Consider, for example, USPTO Director Andrei Iancu’s remarks in September about providing additional guidance to Patent Office examiners, and various analyses of invalidation rates in the federal courts. (We touched on invalidation rates ourselves in our Bilski Blog update in August, at which time the Federal Circuit’s cumulative invalidation rate since July 2014 was…
Since our last update in June 2017, all the invalidation averages for decisions finding lack of subject matter eligibility have trended slightly downward in the federal courts. Specifically: The overall percentage of decisions invalidating patents under § 101 since we started tracking statistics in July 2014 has fallen slightly—from 67.5% to 66.0%—year over year. The 12-month and three-month average invalidation rates have likewise fallen (from 64.7% to 61.9%, and from 72.1% to 48.4%, respectively).…
In my own prosecution practice I’ve noted a recent uptick in the allowance rate of many examiners in the 36XX art units, with several examiners that had hitherto never allowed a single case allowing multiple cases during calendar year 2017.  This piqued my interest, and I decided to conduct a more robust statistical evaluation to see whether my personal experience would bear out more generally. Signs of Recovery My evaluation computed the aggregate allowance-to-abandonment ratio…