Study questions, Day 3

  1. What provision(s) of Article I, section 8 might be used to justify Patent laws?
  2. Section 101 is about “utility” patents, which includes “process” and “product” patents.
    1. “Process” is defined in section 100(b) as “process, art or method, and includes a new use of a known process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter, or material.” A process can be a method of making something, doing something, or using something.
    2. The other three categories (machine, manufacture, and composition of matter) are “product” patents. The lines between the three can be fuzzy and an invention might conceivably fall in more than one category.
      1. A machine does something, such as a can opener or a general-purpose computer.
      2. A manufacture is made from raw or prepared materials, such as clothing or a chair.
      3. A composition of matter is substances mixed together such as drugs or motor oil.
  1. Can I get patents on the following? Focus on 35 U.S.C. §§ 100, 101, and the Mayo
    1. A new type of peanut butter.
    2. A new and unauthorized improvement on the peanut butter invented in 3.a.
    3. A new method for making an existing type of peanut butter.
    4. A new method of using peanut butter to treat wounds.
    5. A new method for purifying gasoline that my mom invented.
    6. A new and non-functional perpetual motion machine.
    7. A new book about a method of accounting.
    8. A new method of accounting.
    9. A brand new tree found in the forest!
    10. Fresh sap from a tree in the forest.
    11. A new drug made from a chemically altered form of the sap from a tree in the forest.
  2. Suppose Alpha invents a new and improved method of manufacturing glass smartphone screens. Alpha obtains a process patent. Beta studies Alpha’s patent and realize that she can add a step to Alpha’s method which will vastly increase the durability of smartphone screens. However, to practice Beta’s improved method, she must also practice Alpha’s patent.
    1. Can Beta obtain a patent for her improved method of making smartphone glass?
    2. Can Beta make her smartphone glass without Alpha’s permission?
    3. Can Alpha practice Beta’s improved method without Beta’s permission?
  3. Suppose Vino comes up with a method of removing sulfites from wine. Vino’s mother Ruth realizes that the method had been practiced for centuries back in the old county. When Ruth helps Vino prepare his patent application, she doesn’t have the heart to tell Vino the bad news. Does Ruth have a duty to fess up that Vino’s invention is not novel? See 37 C.F.R. § 1.56.