期刊刊名：NTUT Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Management
In recent times, the courts have been asked to determine whether, and to what extent, the patent system protects claims to inventions that do not involve a machine or other physical device, and do not involve a physical transformation of matter from one state to another. In other words, the courts have been asked to decide whether the patentable subject matter inquiry involves a physicality requirement. The answer to this question has implications for the patentability of many Information Age process inventions, including processes that manipulate information to produce new and useful data and insights, means of communicating or securing data, various computer-implemented methods and new medical diagnostic techniques. Some judges, both those in favor of and those against a physicality requirement have sought to support their reasoning by reference to an historical analysis of patent law and practice. This ordinarily takes the form of an argument to the effect that historically the patent system has, or has not, supported the patentability of purely non-physical methods. While the focus of the patent system has historically been on the production and manipulation of physical artefacts, the case made in this article is that the better view is that its history does not support the view that patent law‘s incentive function is in fact limited in this way.
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