Patent Law

  • This Subject Area Index lists all CALI lessons covering Patent Law.
  • The Patent Law Outline allows you to search for terms of art that correspond to topics you are studying to find suggestions for related CALI Lessons.
Lesson Viewed

Policy and Patentable Subject Matter

This lesson examines the public policy objectives driving and defining United States patent law. The first section explores the nature and logic of the regime's generally accepted core purpose - providing optimum incentives to invest in useful arts innovation. The next section discusses how that goal generates the basic doctrinal requirements for patentability (novelty, nonobviousness, utility, enablement/disclosure - patentable subject matter is covered separately in lessons on Patentable Subject Matter and Non-Obviousness). The lesson's final section concludes with a brief look at how other normative views of property entitlements affect patent public policy debate as well as client expectations.

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Patentable Subject Matter

This lesson covers the kinds of inventions that can be patented. The first section discusses how the Constitution and the federal Patent Act (specifically Section 101) define and limit those categories of innovations, including the open issues in that on-going debate. The second section offers a variety of problems ranging from the straight-forward to the more complex, permitting confirmation of understanding and practice in application.

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This lesson explores the concept of utility as a condition for patentability under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The lesson can serve either as an introduction to the topic or as a review after covering the material in class. Although the fundamental concepts in this lesson are not difficult, the optional essay explores a particularly challenging topic.

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Novelty (Section 102(a))

This lesson works through the details of patent law's novelty requirement as set out in the pre-AIA version of Section 102(a) of the Patent Act. It also briefly covers the pre-AIA version of Section 102(e) as well as the concept of inventorship. It does not deal with the statutory bars of pre-AIA Section 102(b).

Lesson Viewed

Nonobviousness: The Scope and Content of the Prior Art

This lesson focuses on one of the factual inquiries underlying the legal determination of nonobviousness: the scope and content of the prior art. It assumes that you are familiar with the patentability requirement of novelty under 35 U.S.C. §102 and with the basic framework of the obviousness analysis. If you would like a review of the basic framework for determining obviousness, you may want to do the lesson on "Basic Concepts of Nonobviousness" before you complete this lesson.

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Obviousness: Secondary Considerations

This lesson can serve as an introduction or review of the way in which "secondary considerations" are used in assessing the nonobviousness requirement in patent law. The lesson assumes a basic familiarity with the nonobviousness doctrine. Before doing this lesson, students may wish to review the lesson dealing with Basic Concepts of Nonobviousness. Other aspects of the nonobviousness doctrine are covered in the lesson dealing with Scope and Content of the Prior Art. Students may do this lesson either before or after that lesson.

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Infringement Beyond the Borders: 271(f)

This lesson covers one type of patent infringement involving activity beyond the borders of the United States. In particular, what constitutes infringement under 271(f)(1) and (f)(2) is addressed, including the US Supreme Court decision, AT&T v. Microsoft.

Students may use this lesson to review material already covered in a course, or to learn this material on their own. Students should at least have prior knowledge and understanding of direct and indirect infringement under 271(a)-(c).

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Introduction to TRIPS - Patent

This lesson is an introduction to patent issues under TRIPS, an important international agreement that impacts the national patent laws of all member countries of the World Trade Organization. This includes over 170 countries, including not only industrialized countries, but all developing and least developed countries. Because TRIPS imposes restrictions on national law in all countries, understanding TRIPS is important to understanding what changes to patent law is possible - in the United States and beyond.

Lesson Viewed

TRIPS - Advanced Topics

This lesson provides an advanced exploration of patent issues under TRIPS, an important international agreement that binds most countries, including developed and developing countries. This lesson aims to provide students with information concerning pressing issues. It is appropriate for students who have completed the Introduction to TRIPS lesson, as well as students who have some prior exposure to TRIPS, such as students who have studied the agreement in a class on International IP.