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USPTO Section 101 Guidelines: A change in tone

USPTO Section 101 Guidelines: A change in tone

On December 16, 2014 the USPTO posted new guidelines for examination relating to 35 U.S.C. § 101 in the federal register. The guidelines themselves and a list of Examples relating to naturally occurring products are available here. The same page includes a placeholder for Abstract Idea examples which is marked “coming soon”. My impression is that the overall tone taken by the office in these revised guidelines is far more favorable to the applicant than the previous guidelines issued in June. The current tone seems to encourage Examiners to find claims eligible according to § 101 if the applicant can point to a credible difference between the “natural product” and what is claimed. In contrast to the previous guidelines, difference other that structural differences seem to be acceptable.

Bottom line: It looks like the Office has decided to go back into the business of granting patents on claims that are properly drafted.

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