Venable attorneys Justin Oliver and Joe Cahill authored “The Curious Case of American Axle and Patent Eligibility” in Ipls Proceedings, the publication of the State Bar of Michigan’s Intellectual Property Law Section. The following is an excerpt:
In the early 2010s, the U.S. Supreme Court reined in the scope of patent eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101 through the Bilski, Mayo, and Alice decisions. Unsurprisingly, particularly after the Alice decision in 2014, district courts became more willing to invalidate patent claims that involved, at least in part, laws of nature or abstract ideas. District courts routinely used patent ineligibility findings to dismiss patent infringement cases, through both motions for summary judgment and motions to dismiss on the pleadings under Rule 12(b)(6). Initially, these rulings culled patents with eligibility problems that issued from the U.S Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) prior to the sea change ushered in by Alice and its sibling cases.