On January 7, 2019, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) released a new guidance document that outlines a modified procedure for how the office will determine whether a claim in a patent application or patent is directed to subject matter that is or should have been eligible for patent protection under 35 U.S.C. 101.
The revisions are substantive and could potentially make it easier to obtain patent protection for computer-implemented inventions, an area where protection has recently been difficult to obtain and maintain.
Of note, the guidance provides that a claim directed to an abstract idea could still be eligible for patent protection if the abstract idea is integrated into a practical application. It also outlines only three categories of abstract ideas and states that only in rare cases are there additional examples.
The impact of this revised guidance could meaningfully affect patent prosecution, and is currently the subject of solicited written comment from the public until March 8, 2019.
Our team will be happy to advise you on potential patent protection for your invention in light of these updated guidelines.