By Debby Winters
Every year Donald Zuhn recalls the top 20 patent stories for the past year. You can find his selections for 2016 at these links: Stories 16 to 20, 11 to 15, 6- 10, and the top 5 stories.
Of note are the following:
#18 about the CRISPR patent. CRISPR is an acronym for Clustered Regularly lnterspaced Short Palindromic Repeats. There are many aspects about this, or should I say “these,” patents as more than one has been filed, and that’s part of the story itself. Since these patents were filed in the days of first-to-invent, rather than first-to-file, therein lies an additional wrinkle to this story. I will be blogging about CRISPR in the days to come, so won’t go into detail now, but it will be an interesting patent story in 2017 as well.
#16 about the new Trade Secret law, the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (“DTSA”) signed in law in 2016 by President Obama. Let’s keep our eyes on how this will morph in years to come, especially in light of a new Presidential Administration.
#4 is one of the important stories for both patent attorneys and inventors. In May of 2016, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued the Subject Matter Eligibility Update, which provides further guidance for determining subject matter eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101. We will see more to come on this topic to help clarify what is eligible subject matter for a patent and what is not. This is also the topic of #2 in continuing fallout of the Supreme Court’s 2014 Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank.
#1- The top patent story, according to Dr. Zuhn was the Supreme Courts refusal to hear a case referred to as Sequenom. Despite Sequenom’s petition for certiorari and a total of twenty-two amicus briefs that were filed encouraging the Court to grant certiorari, in June, the Supreme Court surprised many in the patent community by issuing an order denying certiorari in the case. This story is from the Federal Circuit’s very controversial decision in Ariosa Diagnostics, Inc. v. Sequenom, Inc., in which the Federal Circuit affirmed the District Court’s grant of summary judgment of invalidity that the claims of U.S. Patent No. 6,258,540 concerning fetal DNA were patent ineligible.
For more details on any of these cases, click on the links above.