Commenting for IPWatchdog on the Solicitor General’s long-awaited recommendation that the Supreme Court grant review in American Axle & Manufacturing v. Neapco Holdings, a case expected to provide much-needed clarity on U.S. patent eligibility law, Dallas principal Scott Hejny noted:
“The SG’s approach is correct, and while I understand why the focus is on Question 1, Question 2 is equally important. Section 101 has plagued patent litigants for years, the Federal Circuit is clearly divided on the issue, and parties need clarity on patent eligibility. American Axle is a good vehicle for a Section 101 analysis because the claim at issue is relatively simple, it relies on the application of a law of nature (Hooke’s law) to a process for manufacturing a tangible, physical element, and it provides the Supreme Court with relatively straightforward case for clarifying patent eligibility. No doubt there will still be challenges applying a single test to all areas (like software and life sciences), but the current status quo is untenable. But we also need an answer as to whether patent eligibility is a legal, factual, or hybrid question. I think the Supreme Court will grant cert in this case, and I’m hopeful that it will address both questions. It’s unlikely that the Court will take up another Section 101 case for some time, and I feel certain that’s why the SG felt the need to focus on the criticality of Question 1.”
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