Academic journal article Santa Clara High Technology Law Journal

Copyright's Hand Abstractions Test for Patent's Section 101 Subject-Matter Eligibility

Academic journal article Santa Clara High Technology Law Journal

Copyright's Hand Abstractions Test for Patent's Section 101 Subject-Matter Eligibility

Article excerpt

Since the Federal Circuit's 2007 In re Bilski decision and the Supreme Court's 2008 Bilski v. Kappos decision, patent law's subject-matter eligibility standard under 35 U.S.C. [section]101 has been uncertain. This paper posits patent law's patent-ineligible abstract ideas are science concepts and science laws, composed of science concepts, as defined by science philosophers. Somewhat analogous to copyright law, it also presents a downward patent-eligibility Hand abstractions test from an alleged abstract idea, natural law, or natural phenomenon to independent claims as a coherent, systematic, and practical approach to judging utility-patent eligibility. Patent claims manifest an innate vertical abstractions ladder, so there is no need to further abstract ideas from the claims. The fact-finder must add features to the alleged abstract idea, natural law, or natural phenomenon to move down the abstractions ladder to see whether an independent claim merges with the abstract idea, natural law, or natural phenomenon while combating human compulsions, and the test' s known bias, toward over-abstraction. The test automatically adjusts to ever-changing science concepts and laws and their word expressions.

Table of Contents

I. COPYRIGHTS, PATENTS, & THE HAND ABSTRACTIONS TEST
II. PATENT-ELIGIBILITY'S QUAG--SOFTWARE, STATE STREET,
AT & T, BILSKI, PROMETHEUS, & CLS BANK
   A. Software
   B. State Street and AT & T
   C. Bilski & Abstract Ideas
   D. Prometheus & Natural Laws
   E. CLS Bank International v. Alice Corp. Stalemate
III. PATENT-ELIGIBILITY'S INNATE PROBLEMS: WORDS FOR
SCIENCE CONCEPTS & LAWS, CHANGING EXPRESSIONS,
& LANGUAGE'S LIMITS
   A. Changing Science Expressions
      1. Continual Change in Normal Science
      2. REVolutionary Paradigms Shifts
      3. In re Bilski's Approaches Fail to Evolve
   B. Languages' Innate Limits in Expressing Concepts
   C. Break Down of Words in Describing Science
      Concepts & Science Laws
      1. Science Concepts
      2. Science Laws
   D. Human Reliance on Metaphors for Even the Most
      Complex Science Concepts
      1. Metaphors in Language
      2. Abstract Ideas as Metaphors
   E. Compulsive Human Abstraction
      1. Stock Human Thoughts
      2. Abstracting objects into Schematic Models
      3. Patent Claim Elements & Whole Claims as Single
         "Abstract" Ideas
   F. Words Describe Basic Mechanical Engineering
IV. COPYRIGHT LAW' S LINKS TO PATENT LAW
   A. Getting Intellectual Property (IP) Protection
   B. Eligible Subject Matter
      1. Copyright's Idea-Expression Split: Ineligible vs.
         Eligible Subject-Matter
      2. Hand Abstractions Test (Abstractions Test)--
         Separating Copyright-Ineligible Ideas from
         Eligible Expression
         a. General Test
         b. Non-Verbal Works
      3. Eligible vs. Ineligible Subject Matter for Utility
         Patents--Abstract vs. Inventive Ideas
      4. Copyright Law's Idea-Expression Split Versus
         Patent Law's Natural Law-Invention Split
   C. Abstractions Test for Software
V. A DOWNWARD ABSTRACTIONS TEST FOR UTILITY-PATENT
ELIGIBILITY
   A. Patent Claims' Manifest Innate Vertical Abstractions
      Ladder
   B. Young's Horizontal Abstractions--over-Abstraction
     Confusion
   C. Abstractions Test in Context--Patent Merger Tests
      for Ineligible Subject Matter
   D. Visual Claim Concepts & Mannion's Copyright
      Critique
   E. Abstractions Test Like Standard Patent Infringement
      Analysis
   F. Down the Abstractions Ladder to Counteract
      Compulsions & Test's Bias
   G. Automatic Adaptation to New Science Expressions
VI. PATENT-INELIGIBLE ABSTRACT IDEAS, NATURAL LAWS, &
NATURAL PHENOMENA
   A. Abstract Science Ideas are Science Concepts:
      Classificatory, Comparative, & Quantitative
   B. Natural Laws: Science Laws Built on Science
      Concepts
   C. Patent-Ineligible Abstract Ideas & Natural Laws
   D. … 
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