On January 4, 2019, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) released new Patent Examiner Guidance (Guidance) for subject matter eligibility. The updated guidance could benefit any technology patent applicant who has a computer-related invention — from smartphones to artificial intelligence — and who has previously had difficulty acquiring patents under the USPTOʼs procedures for determining patent subject matter eligibility.
The Guidance is intended to provide some much-needed direction for technology patent applicants on how to formulate and prepare their patent applications to avoid potential subject matter eligibility issues. In addition, to the extent subject matter eligibility is raised by an examiner during the review process, the Guidance is intended to now allow patent applicants clearer understanding, and provides a pathway for responding to subject matter eligibility rejections under 35 U.S.C. § 101, particularly for those in the software sector.