Navigating The Murky Morass Of Section 101

Law360, New York (July 5, 2012, 1:02 PM EDT) -- What qualifies as patentable subject matter?

In theory, “any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof” qualifies for patent protection.[1] According to the U.S. Supreme Court, 35 U.S.C. § 101 essentially allows a person to receive a patent for any man-made invention.[2]

However, while § 101 may act as a “coarse eligibility filter,”[3] it is not without boundaries. Unfortunately, the courts have struggled to identify those boundaries. As a consequence, challenges to patentability under § 101 are becoming frequent.[4] Thus, the “murky morass that is § 101 jurisprudence”[5] can pose a...

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