Sens. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, and Thom Tillis, R-North Carolina; and Reps. Doug Collins, R-Georgia; Hank Johnson, D-Georgia; and Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, released on April 17 a bipartisan, bicameral framework on Section 101 patent reform.
The framework comes months after Coons and Tillis revived the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property. Since then, Coons and Tillis have worked with Collins, Johnson and Stivers and interested stakeholders on how to best reform Section 101 of the Patent Act. The months of hard work by the senators and representatives has led to this bipartisan, bicameral framework.
“Today, U.S. patent law discourages innovation in some of the most critical areas of technology, including artificial intelligence, medical diagnostics, and personalized medicine,” said Coons. “That’s why Sen. Tillis and I launched this effort to improve U.S. patent law based on input from those impacted most. I am grateful for the engagement of all stakeholders participating in our roundtables, as well as the bipartisan and collaborative efforts of colleagues in both the Senate and the House. I look forward to continuing to receive feedback as we craft a legislative solution that encourages innovation.”
The framework released by Coons, Tillis, Collins, Johnson and Stivers would:
—Keep existing statutory categories of process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any useful improvement thereof.
— Eliminate, within the eligibility requirement, that any invention or discovery be both “new and useful.” Instead, simply require that the invention meet existing statutory utility requirements.
— Define, in a closed list, exclusive categories of statutory subject matter which alone should not be eligible for patent protection. The sole list of exclusions might include the following categories, for example fundamental scientific principles; products that exist solely and exclusively in nature; pure mathematical formulas; economic or commercial principles; and mental activities.
— Create a “practical application” test to ensure that the statutorily ineligible subject matter is construed narrowly.
— Ensure that simply reciting generic technical language or generic functional language does not salvage an otherwise ineligible claim.
— Statutorily abrogate judicially created exceptions to patent eligible subject matter in favor of exclusive statutory categories of ineligible subject matter.
— Make clear that eligibility is determined by considering each and every element of the claim as a whole and without regard to considerations properly addressed by 102, 103 and 112.
To view the framework, visit bit.ly/2GjpovZ.
Coons, Tillis, Collins, Johnson and Stivers are soliciting feedback on the proposal and encourage stakeholders to email firstname.lastname@example.org.