The USPTO Announces Additional Guidelines for Determining Subject Matter Eligibility Under 35 U.S.C. § 101  

On July 30, 2015, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) issued additional guidelines for use by USPTO personnel in determining subject matter eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101. These additional guidelines follow the public comments provided in response to the 2014 Interim Patent Eligibility Guidance that was issued by the USPTO in December 2014 (the 2014 Interim Guidance).

The July 2015 Update includes seven examples of what is patentable in terms of business methods, graphic user interfaces, and software.  Each of the seven examples included in Appendix 1, provide sample claim language and corresponding explanations for determining whether a claim recites significantly more than a judicial exception.

The examples, numbered 21–27, include claims directed to: a transmission of stock quote data, a graphic user interface for meal planning, a graphic user interface for relocating obscured textual information, updating alarm limits, rubber manufacturing, and an internal combustion engine.

The USPTO also confirmed that the requirement to consider claim elements, both individually and in combination, is a vital part of determining whether a claim, as a whole, amounts to significantly more than a judicial exception.

The USPTO is interested in receiving public feedback on the July 2015 Update:  Subject Matter Eligibility, including the claim examples.  Any member of the public may submit written comments by electronic mail message over the Internet addressed to [email protected].  Comments will be accepted until October 28, 2015.