No Man's Formula: Following Hello Games' Patent Concerns

Law360, New York (August 17, 2016, 12:39 PM EDT) -- Under United States law, a patent may be issued for "any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof,"[1] with courts making clear that the scope of potential patent protection excludes "laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas."[2] Even original statements of such ideas — including Einstein's famous law E=mc2 — cannot be patented.[3] However, while a pure mathematical formula is not eligible for a patent, "an application of a law of nature or mathematical formula to a known structure or process may well be deserving of patent protection."[4] The nebulous boundaries of this distinction are highly relevant in a recent controversy involving a unique and highly anticipated video game and its possible use of a patented mathematical equation known as the Superformula....

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