In 2022, the Federal Circuit definitively ruled that artificial intelligence (AI) systems cannot be named inventors or co-inventors on patent applications, reinforcing the longstanding principle that only natural persons are eligible as inventors under the Patent Act.  This decision, however, left an important question unanswered: Are inventions created with AI assistance patentable?

Today, the United

In a recent post, we discussed whether patent applications could provide insight into the blueprints of extraterrestrial spacecraft. Yet, an enigmatic question looms large: would the powers that be genuinely consider patenting such advanced technology, fully aware that patent applications might see the light of day? Or might there be a more clandestine approach, a proverbial cloak of invisibility wielded by the men in black?

Under the Invention Secrecy Act of 1951, federal law prevents the disclosure of new technologies and inventions that may present a national security threat to the United States. Under this act, the Commissioner of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has the authority to highlight patent applications for scrutiny by U.S. defense departments (e.g., various three-letter and four-letter government agencies), ensuring certain innovations remain confidential. This veil of secrecy could extend to concepts and items conceived by individual civilians. Patents falling under such a secrecy directive are accessible to defense bodies, have export limitations, and are considered classified. Accordingly, the publication of such patent applications, or even the granting of a patent, could be delayed or altogether suppressed. These orders are in place to protect sensitive technologies from falling into the wrong hands. As of 2022, USPTO records show that there were 6,057 secrecy orders in effect. Continue Reading Cloaked in Secrecy: Can Secrecy Orders Shield Alien Innovations?

The U.S. Supreme Court recently granted certiorari for two intellectual property cases—one relating to patents and another for trademarks.

Patent Case

Relevant to patent law, the Supreme Court granted certiorari to decide the issue of enablement for patents with so-called “genus claims.” Genus claims are directed to inventions that are functional in nature, and with

Obviousness – Don’t Get Tricked

Halloween candy containers have come a long way since I was a kid. Back then, we would use a plastic bag or a pillowcase to hold our trick-or-treating loot. The container market changed in 1986 when McDonald’s introduced their plastic Happy Meal containers. While these plastic containers could not hold

On August 2, 2022, Sen. T. Tillis introduced the Patent Eligibility Restoration Act (S.4734) in an effort to clarify which inventions are actually patentable and to codify those that are not. Since the Supreme Court handed down its decisions in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc., 566 U.S. 66, (2012) and Alice v.

Judge Markey famously wrote “Only God works from nothing. Man must work with old elements.” Howard T. Markey, Why Not the Statute?, 65 J. PAT. OFF. SOC’Y 331, 334 (1983). His point was simple and well taken—every invention is a combination of something old. An obviousness argument must be more than the arbitrary combination of