Lawrence Tech Panel To Discuss Patent Process In Wake Of Court Ruling

SOUTHFIELD — The Detroit satellite office of the United States Patent and Trademark Office will hold a panel discussion Wednesday, May 20, that will review how patentability and legal claims have been affected by the landmark 2013 Supreme Court case, Alice Corp. versus CLS Bank International.

The program will run from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in Lawrence Technological University’s Mary Marburger Science and Engineering Auditorium, S-100, in LTU’s Science Building, 21000 W. 10 Mile Road, Southfield. Admission is free.

“101 Post-Alice: How USPTO and Practitioners are Reacting” will be moderated by the new USPTO Detroit office director, Christal Sheppard.

The presentation is significant because many inventors have attempted to seek patent protection for processes that involve using a computer to execute the process. The lesson from the “Alice” case is that merely adding a computer or computer algorithm to a law of nature or an abstract concept is not enough for patentability. If the patent examiner can see that a law of nature, natural phenomenon or abstract concept is the basis of the patent, and can also see that the technology involved is simply replacing a human method relating to that basis with a technological one, then the patent application is likely to be denied.

Intellectual property experts participating in the event include Andrew H. Hirshfeld, deputy commissioner for Patent Examination Policy at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, who will present the primary address. He is the authority on patent laws, rules and examining practice and procedure, and establishes patent examination and documentation policy standards for the Commissioner for Patents.

The panel includes John LeRoy, whose law practice focuses on software patent litigation; Rebecca S. Eisenberg, the Robert and Barbara Luciano Professor of Law at the University of Michigan, who specializes in patent law and the regulation of biopharmaceutical innovation; and Michael B. Stewart, whose practice includes domestic and foreign patent prosecution, e-commerce and information technology, patent opinions, intellectual property litigation court.

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