Columns

Out from the ‘murky morass’ – part two

By David J Kappos

Other more clearly defined provisions of US patent law could prevent the eligibility of entire scientific and technological fields being brought into question by Section 101 jurisprudence

While Alice v CLS Bank is the latest in a crowded field of Supreme Court cases grappling with the basic question of patentable subject matter, it is not the first to provoke commentators to call into question an entire field’s eligibility for patent protection. Just as Alice did to the software industry, the one-two combination of 2012’s Mayo Collaborative Services v Prometheus Labs and 2013’s Association for Molecular Pathology v Myriad Genetics sent a wave of uncertainty through the life sciences industry – a vital innovation sector in which the United States has alarmingly already seen its share of the patents considered most valuable worldwide fall from 73% in 1981 to 59% in 2011.

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