Today, Public Knowledge published a report on the state of patenting following the Supreme Court's landmark decision on patentable subject matter in Alice v. CLS Bank. In view of that decision, which sharply limited the patentability of business methods, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected 830 patent applications that it had previously approved.
The following may be attributed to Charles Duan, Director of Public Knowledge's Patent Reform Project:
“The frequent attempts of patent applicants to obtain expansive, questionable patents on basic ideas and operations plagues the patent system and small innovators across the country. The Supreme Court's decision in Alice v. CLS Bank promised to put the brakes on abusive patenting, and we performed this study to determine if the USPTO is fulfilling that promise.
“We were surprised by what we found in that set of 830 patents. Companies have been engaging in filing the sort of software- and business method–patent applications deemed affected by Alice, from the obvious technology stalwarts to unexpected firms in energy and consumer products. We saw patent applications on basic games, simple electronics concepts, ordinary advertising techniques, and even dieting methods.
“We are greatly pleased to see that the USPTO is taking a close eye to a broad range of patent applications to ensure that they do not attempt to fence off the basic ideas, concepts, and technologies that the public depends on for the creation and advancement of knowledge. We look forward to continued work by the USPTO and other branches of government to implement a balanced patent system that protects consumer creativity and access to technology.”
You may download the full report here. Please note that Public Knowledge obtained the list of 830 rejected applications from the USPTO through a Freedom of Information request.
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