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C. R. Bard v. Angiodynamics (Fed. Cir. Nov. 10, 2020)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that a claim that is not solely directed to printed matter and also contains subject matter that is possibly inventive is patent eligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

Printed matter encompasses any information claimed for its communicative content, and the [printed matter] doctrine prohibits patenting such printed matter unless it is “functionally related” to its “substrate” [i.e., interacts with the other elements of the claim to create a new functionality in a claimed device or to cause a specific action in a claimed process] which encompasses the structural elements of the claimed invention.

In this case, the Federal Circuit concluded that the printed matter is not functional. However, the Federal Circuit indicated that it did not "foreclose the possibility [in previous cases] that an entire claim could be found patent ineligible when the claim as a whole is directed to printed matter". With regard to the claims at issue, the Federal Circuit explained that "even if we were to conclude that the sole focus of the claimed advance was the printed matter, [the evidence] is not sufficient to establish as a matter of law, at Alice step two, that the use of a radiographic marker, in the “ordered combination” of elements claimed, was not an inventive concept." In other words, "the asserted claims are not patent ineligible under § 101 because the claims in their entireties are not solely directed to printed matter."

Read the case here.

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