On November 1, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“Federal Circuit”) held that four of Amdocs’ patents, US 7,631,065, US 7,412,510, US 6,947,984, and US 6,836,797, were directed toward patent-eligible subject matter. Unlike previous subject matter eligibility cases, the Federal Circuit evaluated Amdocs with an examination tailored to the specific facts of the case, comparable to traditional common-law.
On September 13, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“Federal Circuit”) held in the case of McRo, Inc. v. Bandai Namco Games America Inc., that “the ordered combination of claimed steps, using unconventional rules that relate sub-sequences of phonemes, timings, and morph weight sets, is not directed to an abstract idea and is therefore patent-eligible subject matter.” The Federal Circuit focused its analysis of the Alice test on the second step, looking for (1) specific limitations that help avoid preemption and (2) more than merely automation of existing human activity.
On September 29, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States (“Supreme Court”) granted certiorari in Lee v. Tam to consider whether the disparagement provision of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1052(a), which says that no trademark shall be denied registration on account of its nature unless it “consists of … matter which may disparage… persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute” is facially invalid under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.
Staas & Halsey LLP Fall Newsletter 2016