American Axle: Prolonging the controversy


American Axle: Prolonging the controversy / MarcelClemens

After the Supreme Court denied certiorari, the risk to patent holders has only grown, say Robert McFarlane and Rosanna Gan of Hanson Bridgett LLP.

For more than two centuries, American patent law has permitted inventors to obtain patents on new and useful processes, machines, manufactures, and compositions of matter (35 USC §101). Alongside this broad statutory provision, the Supreme Court has long held that abstract ideas, laws of nature, and natural phenomena cannot be patented.  

The Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Alice Corp v CLS Bank Int’l, 573 US 208 (2014) addressed these categorical exceptions and, unfortunately, created tremendous uncertainty regarding the scope of patentable subject matter. 

In the absence of subsequent Supreme Court guidance, the patent bar has suffered through almost a decade of confusion regarding one of the fundamental questions in patent law, namely, what inventions are, and just as importantly are not, patentable after Alice.  

patents, patentability, Alice, section 101, Supreme Court, two-step test, US