USPTO Seeks Further Public Input on Patent Subject Matter Eligibility

October 14, 2016
Press Release 16-17

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Washington - The U.S. Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced that as part of its effort to solicit input from the public regarding the legal contours of patent subject matter eligibility, it will be holding two roundtables, one in November and one in December.

“In recent years, the jurisprudence on the very basic issue of what is patent eligible subject matter has been evolving requiring adjustments by innovators, businesses, lower courts and administrative agencies such as the USPTO,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office Michelle K. Lee. “Our goal is to minimize any uncertainty in the patent system by ensuring we not only continue to apply the statute and case law in this area as faithfully as possible, but also understand the impact of the jurisprudence on innovation and assess what, if any, changes might be helpful to further support innovation.”

In a notice published today in the Federal Register, the USPTO announced that it will begin a nationwide conversation on patent eligible subject matter through two roundtable discussions. The first roundtable will be held November 14, 2016, at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. This roundtable will focus on the USPTO's continuing efforts to seek input from across the country and across industries on how the USPTO can improve the agency’s subject matter eligibility guidance and training examples. To facilitate a broader legal discussion on the contours of patentable subject matter, the USPTO will host a second roundtable on December 5, 2016, at Stanford University in Stanford, California. Through the power of USPTO’s nationwide footprint, each of our regional offices will also participate in both roundtables, enabling individuals and industries from around the country to share their perspectives at a location closest to them, in addition to written submissions.

Together, these roundtables will help facilitate discussion on patent subject matter eligibility in view of several decisions in recent years by the courts. If you wish to attend or participate in a roundtable, please see the Federal Register notice to learn more. You may also visit the USPTO’s Events Page.

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