Philip Hawkyard

Volume 74, Issue 4, 1221-1250

In Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc., the Supreme Court established a two-step framework to determine whether a supposed invention that involves a “natural law” can be a patent-eligible subject matter. Two years later, the Supreme Court extended this framework in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International to “abstract ideas,” and cemented the framework as the test to determine patent-eligible subject matter. Recent cases demonstrate that this framework has collapsed from a two-step inquiry into a one-step inquiry, leading to bizarre results and legal uncertainty. This Note examines why the Mayo framework should never have been extended to abstract ideas in Alice, and proposes a solution to determine patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101.