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IP Newsletter - October/November 2020

October 1, 2020

Federal Circuit cuts the line on patent-ineligible fishing method
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has thrown back yet another patent aimed at what it considers a patent-ineligible abstract idea. While many of the earlier cases in which the court has applied the so-called Alice/Mayo test for patent eligibility have involved computer-implemented processes or software, the recent case revolved around something much more simple. This article highlights the Federal Circuit’s continuing trend to deny patents for abstract ideas.
In re: Rudy, No. 2019-2301, April 24, 2020, Fed. Cir.

The limits of artificial intelligence
PTO restricts “inventorship” to natural persons
Decades after “2001: A Space Odyssey” hit theaters, artificial intelligence (AI) is finally gaining ground in everyday life — but not without legal limits. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), for example, recently ruled that AI systems can’t be listed as an “inventor” on a patent application. This article discusses why the agency found that the application required identification of a natural person as inventor.
In re Application of Application No.: 16/524,350, No. 50567-3-01-US, April 27, 2020, U.S.P.T.O. 

Supreme Court: Sovereign immunity sinks copyright claims
When copyrights are infringed by a state, copyright owners are likely out of luck. That’s the result of a unanimous decision from the U.S. Supreme Court striking down a federal law that allowed copyright owners to sue states in federal court for infringement. This brief article reviews the case and its implications. (400)
Allen v. Cooper, No. 18-877, March 23, 2020, U.S.