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The U.S. Supreme Court on Patent Law -- 2014



By Nathan A. Sloan and Brad C. Ramett of Meunier Carlin & Curfman LLC

Nathan A. Sloan and Brad C. Rametta are attorneys of the intellectual property firm of Meunier Carlin & Curfman LLC. They can be reached at nsloan@mcciplaw.com and brametta@mcciplaw.com.

The Supreme Court issued decisions in several important patent cases in 2014, repeatedly speaking from a unanimous opinion and overturning the Federal Circuit. The patent community has followed these cases closely and the decisions did not disappoint. The Supreme Court has confirmed that software patents that are not abstract may be subject matter eligible, clarified that induced infringement requires direct infringement by a defendant, looked with disfavor on vague claims, and opened the door for district courts to award attorney fees more frequently and be reviewed with increased deference. This article summarizes the Supreme Court’s decisions and looks forward at the impacts on patent prosecution and litigation.

The Supreme Court Speaks on Subject Matter Eligibility

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the Federal Circuit’s en banc ruling in Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. V. CLS Bank Int’l, finding that claims directed to an abstract idea are ineligible for patent protection under 35 U. S. C. §101.  The Court refrained from making any broad, categorical exclusions of ...

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