Ex parte Gillam, APPEAL 2021-002217, 2022 WL 1641777 (Patent Tr. & App. Bd. May 20, 2022) (RPI – Texas Instruments). [2021002297_Mail_Decision]
9. A method for evaluating a generalized rational function on a handheld graphing calculator, the method comprising:
determining, by a processor of the handheld graphing calculator, whether or not the generalized rational function has at least one asymptote; and
displaying, by the processor, the at least one asymptote on a display screen when the generalized rational function has the at least one asymptote, the displaying includes a textual representation of the at least one asymptote.
In its decision, the PTAB issued a new ground for rejection against Claim 9 for lacking subject matter eligibility. The Board concluded that the claim was directed to an unpatentable mathematical concept.
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Ex Parte Allaway, APPEAL 2021-002898, 2022 WL 1599499 (Patent Tr. & App. Bd. May 19, 2022) (Mars, Inc.).[2021002898_Mail_Decision]
1. A method of screening a foodstuff comprising:
(a) preparing a foodstuff comprising i) one or more of aspartic acid, serine, glutamic acid, glycine, alanine and praline, and ii) one or more of myristic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, palmitoleic acid, oleic acid and linolenic acid, the foodstuff further comprising a protein to fat ratio of 1:0.27 to 1:0.63 on a gram:gram as fed or dry matter basis;
(b) feeding a cat the foodstuff, and
(c) measuring the level of margaric acid in a blood sample from the cat before and after feeding the foodstuff, wherein an increase in endogenous margaric acid levels post prandially is indicative of a foodstuff effective to prevent or reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and/or inflammation in the cat.
The Board found that the final wherein clause was directed to a potential mental process and thus an abstract idea in addition, the correlation between margaric acid and disease is a law of nature similar to that seen in Mayo. Rejection Affirmed.
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Ex Parte Mallet, APPEAL 2021-003081, 2022 WL 1641787 (Patent Tr. & App. Bd. May 20, 2022) (RPI – BIOMERIEUX) [2021003081_Mail_Decision]
1. A method for detecting at least two RNA transcripts, comprising:
obtaining a biological sample that is collected from a human patient suspected of having prostate cancer; and
detecting, in the biological sample, the presence or absence of at least two RNA transcripts comprising a first RNA transcript expressed by a first nucleic acid sequence having at least 99% identity with SEQ ID NO: 1, and a second RNA transcript expressed by a second nucleic acid sequence having at least 99% identity with SEQ ID NO: 3.
The claim was not rejected under Section 101, but the PTAB included an interesting footnote suggesting that the claim may lack eligibility under Mayo/Alice, but is OK under the 2019 USPTO Examination Guidelines.
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Ex Parte Bella, APPEAL 2021-002297, 2022 WL 1584710 (Patent Tr. & App. Bd. May 17, 2022) [2021002297_Mail_Decision]
Maria Bella is a forensic expert who testifies in cases involving aquatics and drowning. She created a step-by-step lifeguarding methodology that includes a series of steps and actions such as
- staff mapping the shape of the swimming pool or body of water including any irregularities that may be present;
- staff determining the number of submersible devices available;
- staff determining the length of the swimming pool or body of water;
- the staff determining the width of the swimming pool or body of water;
- staff calculating and mapping a grid to determine the positioning of the submersible devices based on the number of submersibles, the length of the swimming pool or body of water, the width of the swimming pool or body of water and the blind spots present;
- the staff positioning submersible devices on a bottom of the swimming pool or body of water according to the calculated grid …
The examiner rejected the claims on eligibility grounds. On appeal though the PTAB has reversed that rejection — basically finding that the submersible devices are “concrete things” that sufficiently “integrate” the mental processes “into a practical application.”
The Board did, however, issue a new ground of rejection on indefiniteness – The claim includes the following wherein clause that the Board found lacks any workable objective standard: “wherein failure to recognize the swimmer/bather in distress increases the risk of the swimmer/bather suffering a fatal drowning.”