Tech, pharma companies divided in PTO patent-eligibility comments

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  • Critics say patent eligibility legislation has prompted unpredictable selections
  • Google, Dell, others broadly assist present legislation
  • J&J, different pharma companies say it discourages funding

(Reuters) – Johnson & Johnson and different pharmaceutical companies have instructed the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that the unpredictable state of patent legislation has discouraged funding in essential applied sciences, whereas tech companies together with Google LLC and Dell Inc say the present system safeguards in opposition to dangerous patents.

Many of 80 comments submitted to the patent workplace by a Friday deadline on the present state of the legislation that units out what improvements will be patented, present the divide on the difficulty between industries usually focused with patent infringement claims, like large tech companies, and those that broadly assist better patent protections, like pharmaceutical companies.

In July, the PTO asked for public comments on “the current state of patent eligibility jurisprudence” and the way it has affected funding and innovation in fields like quantum computing, synthetic intelligence and precision drugs, for a research requested in March by a bipartisan group of 4 U.S. senators.

Courts have grappled with deciphering Section 101 of the Patent Act, which lays out the necessities for a patentable invention. The U.S. Supreme Court has mentioned in two rulings that summary concepts and pure legal guidelines aren’t patentable underneath the legislation, and critics say these selections have led to unpredictable eligibility selections in decrease courts and the cancellation of legitimate patents.

A letter signed by Republican Senators Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Democratic Senators Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Chris Coons of Delaware mentioned a “lack of clarity” in patent-eligibility legislation has “not only discouraged investment in critical emerging technologies, but also led the courts to foreclose protection entirely for certain important inventions in the diagnostics, biopharmaceutical, and life sciences industries.”

Johnson & Johnson echoed the senators’ issues.

“Business leaders face the following, very real, question: Do you want to invest hundreds of millions of dollars, and a decade or more of time, into a technology that you may never be able to protect?,” J&J said.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a commerce group whose members embrace Bayer Corp, Pfizer Inc and Eli Lilly & Co, said it’s “concerning that companies may invest in research now that may not be patentable in the future.”

Google, nevertheless, said America’s IP system is “playing its proper role to allow development in AI and QC technologies to thrive through balanced policies, and any disruption to this balance would harm innovation in these technologies, not help it.”

Dell additionally expressed support for the present state of patent-eligibility legislation.

“Section 101 helps ensure that patents promote rather than impede innovation,” Dell mentioned. “It does this by guarding against patent claims that would grant an unwarranted monopoly on abstract ideas rather than concrete applications of those ideas.”

Read extra:

Top courtroom guidelines in opposition to two diagnostic patents

U.S. prime courtroom guidelines in opposition to Alice Corp over software program patents

Fed Circuit passes up likelihood to evaluation patent-eligibility ruling in 6-6 tie

Blake Brittain

Blake Brittain reviews on mental property legislation, together with patents, emblems, copyrights and commerce secrets and techniques. Reach him at blake.brittain@thomsonreuters.com

The United States Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly