There are a great number of patent law doctrines that are currently under reconsideration by the Federal Circuit. These doctrines include patent claim construction under the 2006 Phillips case, the problem of foreign activity being used as patent-defeating prior art as shown in the recent Elsner case, the growing challenge of extraterritorial acts as patent infringement as presented in the 2004 expected cases of Blackberry and Eolas, the “Rule 105” implications for patent office practice in Sta Fruits, the change in willful infringement law set forth in the recent KnorrBremse case, the continuing problem of co-inventorship recurring in Xechem, the search for statutory utility dealt with in the 2005 Fishe case and the ever present possession requirement for utility. This article presents a brief summary of the cases involving these eight doctrines and discusses the potential implications of each on current patent law and practice.
Harold C. Wegner, Developments in Patent Law 2004, 4 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 1 (2004)