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Potential US Patent Reform

The USPTO is currently preparing a report on reforming 35 USC 101 (section 101, which defines what inventions are patentable) for March 2022. They are asking key patent stakeholders how changing patent eligibility law will have an impact on technological investment and innovation.

There is a deep divide in the responses from different facets of industry. Pharmaceutical companies and other life science companies are urging change. They say they cannot justify major investments into technologies if they cannot guarantee the patentability of the inventions. Alternatively, other big tech companies wish to keep section 101 to help protect themselves in litigation and to help attack improperly granted patents.

This is not the first attempt to amend sections 101 or 112, the previous one being in 2019. Those amendments also failed due to lack of consensus in the patent community. Several ideas have been proposed to break the deadlock in the community, including broadening section 101 while putting more weight on section 112 (patent specification requirements). This faced similar issues to 101 reform, where the impact is different for different industries.

Read the full story here.

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