HILARY J. SUMNER
Creating Assets from Innovations

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IP In the News

Can Software Be Patented? The Patent Landscape post Alice v. CLS

Posted on January 25, 2016 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (1)

The recent US Supreme Court decision of Alice v. CLS Bank has specificed a Section 101 framework in which software patents must now be examined.  The court has enumerated two questions that must be asked in a software patent:

1. Does the claim merely cover an “abstract idea”?

2. Is there an (additional) “inventive concept” that turns this idea into a patentable application of the abstraction?

This decision does not elliminate the possibility of software patents but certainly leaves their patentability uncertain and open to challenge.


The recent case of Motio Inc. vs. Avnet Inc. has provided one example of how to circumvent this issue.  In that case the court found the that the "inventive concept" was an "automated agent" eligible for patent protection.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE



Canadian Company Secures Patent for Space Elevator

Posted on October 25, 2015 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Thoth Technology of Ontario, Canada recently secured a patent for a space elevator.  The device would extend 12 miles above the earth's surface, allowing materials to be transported to and from space.  The company estimates that an elevator of this nature could save more than 30 percent of the fuel of a conventional rocket.

 

CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE


Does a 3D Printed Organ Constitute a Human Organism Under Patent Law?

Posted on October 25, 2015 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

As 3D printing technology improves, the potential for printing human organs is becoming a reality... but are human tissues and organs patentable under the law?  The America Invents Act (AIA) clearly prohibits the patenting of any claim "directed to or encompassing a human organism."  The question becomes whether a 3D printing of tissues and/or organs constitues a human organism. In the past, patents have issued for organisms that are "non-naturally occurring" such as a bacterium that breaks down crude oil.  As technology improves this is sure to be a uncertain area of the law.  CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE



NASA to Release More Patents

Posted on October 25, 2015 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (0)

NASA recently released seven key patents, allowing the private sector to borrow this technology for a term of years.  These patents include a new self-healing alloy, an amorphous robot capable of navigating rugged terrain, a glove with an exo-skeleton allowing the user to lift great weights, and a biometric password system based on the user's heartbeat.  CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE



NASA Developing its First Warp Drive

Posted on September 16, 2015 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

NASA has been wrestling with the time constraints of space travel for years but recently a physicist by the name of Miguel Alcubierre came up a concept that may make deep space travel a reality.  Alcubierre's theory involves a "space bubble" that can travel faster than the speed of light while the ship inside remains stationary.  This bubble contracts spacetime in front of the ship and expands it behind it. The energy required to create this bubble would be enormous; however, Sonny White of NASA’s Johnson Space Center believes that these energy requirements would be greatly reduced if the ring is formed in the shape of a donut.  Prototype warp engines are now being built and recent testing suggests that the warp speed travel might actually be feasible.  CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE



Newly Patented Devices Uses Heat & Ionized Air to Protect Against Shockwaves

Posted on August 15, 2015 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

A newly patented devices suggest the use of heat and ionized air to protect troops against the shockwaves generated by explosions.  The patent suggests placement of arc generators on the exterior of vehicles along with a sensor to detect an inbound sock wave.  The generators woudl create a large arc of electricity to heat and ionize the air, deflecting the shock wave.  CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE


Group Injects Human Eyes with Substance to Enhance Night Vision

Posted on August 6, 2015 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

A group of scientists recently injected the eyeballs human test subject with a substance found in deep sea fish.  This injection of Ce 6, a chlorophyll-like chemical, allowed the subject to clearly discern the location of people in the woods 50 meters away.  CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE



French Company, Airbus SA, Seeks to Patent "Flying Doughnut"

Posted on November 27, 2014 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Airbus SA recently filed an application seeking to patent a new aircraft design.  Passengers in the craft will sit in a circular cabin in a tear dropped shaped airframe. CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE

 

 


Alice, Bilski and the Growing Resistance in Securing Computer Related Patents

Posted on July 5, 2014 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

In June, the Supreme Court heard the case Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International.  In this case CLS challenged a number of Alice's patents claiming that the patents protected ineligible subject matter. The patents in question performed escrow calculations using a computer.  CLS contended that the use of the computer was not sufficient to support the patent claims.


In deciding this case the Supreme Court used a two-part test asking:

1)  Does the patent involve an abstract idea that would be ineligible for patent protection under 35 USC 101? (i.e. algorithms, mathematical concepts, chemical elements, naturally occurring biological products, or methods that could be carried out in a person’s head)


2) If the patent does involve an abstract idea, is there some element in the claims or some combination of elements that amounts to significantly more than the abstract idea itself?


The Court held that Alice's patents were simply a widely used economic formula used in conjunction with a computer and this was not enough to support patentability.  This case in conjuction with Bilski raises the bar for patent eligibility in computer related patents.


Moving forward, patent applicants will find it increasingly difficult to patent computer programs unless they offer some significant improvement over standard algorithms and formulae.

Tesla to Release Patents to Public

Posted on June 13, 2014 at 7:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Elon Musk, CEO of electrical carmaker Tesla, announced yesterday that his company's patents will be released to the public.  This release comes with certain restrictions and the company has not resigned full legal ititle in the patents.  Tesla has promised that it will not pursue legal action against anyone using these patents in "good faith."   The patents are being released in the hope of advancing electrical vehicle technology.  CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE.