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USPTO Director Proposes New Patent Eligibility Guidance

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The test for patentable subject matter under Section 101 lies at the heart of patent system. However, very little guidance is provided in the actual statutory language. It comes as no surprise that the “seemingly’ simple provision of patent eligible subject matter has caused a great deal of confusion among inventors, patent attorneys, district court judges, and even the Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefor, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title.

35 U.S.C. § 101. The Supreme Court’s attempt to limit the scope of patentable subject matter by establishing three specific exceptions, laws of nature, physical phenomena, and abstract ideas, has created significant uncertainty for patent practitioners and examiners.

The USPTO has issued several guidelines in the past for determining patent-eligible subject matter to address such uncertainties. However, the examiners are still left with conflating aspects of 35 U.S.C. §§ 102, 103, and 112 with the § 101 analysis and expanding the “inventive concept” requirement. Recognizing the same, the USPTO Director, Andrei Iancu, recently proposed a change to how USPTO examiners determine whether a claimed invention satisfies the patent eligibility requirements of 35 USC § 101. On September 24, 2018, at the Intellectual Property Owners Association’s annual meeting, Director Iancu acknowledged that there is a growing consensus to promptly address the issue of patent eligibility subject matter. The premise of Director Iancu’s position is that there should be a strong line between “categories of invention on one hand” and “conditions for patentability on the other.” He stressed on the problems arising from the confusion in distinguishing between categories of invention under § 101 and conditions for patentability under §§ 102, 103, and 112:

“How can a claim be novel enough to pass 102 and nonobvious enough to pass 103, yet lack an ‘inventive concept’ and therefore fail 101? Or, how can a claim be concrete enough so that one of skill in the art can make it without undue experimentation, and pass 112, yet abstract enough to fail 101? How can something concrete be abstract?”

Director Iancu emphasized that § 101 is about subject matter, and that “it is meant to address categories of matter that are not ever eligible on their own, no matter how inventive or well-claimed they are.” He said that the Patent Office is considering revised guidance to help the examiners categorize the exceptions and on how to apply them. The following two clarifications to be addressed in the contemplated guidance, according to Director Iancu, “would help drive more predictability back into the analysis while remaining true to the case law that gave rise to these judicial exceptions in the first place”:

  • Categorizing the exceptions based on a synthesis of the case law to date, and
  • If a claim does recite a categorized exception, examiners would be instructed “to decide if it is “directed to” that exception by determining whether such exception is integrated into a practical application.”

Commenting on the judicial exceptions, Director Iancu noted that they should cover “only those claims that the Supreme Court has said remain outside the categories of patent protection, despite being novel, nonobvious, and well-disclosed.” The Supreme Court provided “basic tools of scientific and technological work” to categorize inventions that cannot be patented even where the applicant demonstrates full compliance with Sections 102, 103 and 112. Director Iancu defined “basic tools of scientific and technological work” as following

  • pure discoveries of nature, such as gravity, electromagnetism, DNA, etc.—all natural and before human intervention; (citing Myriad)
  • fundamental mathematics like calculus, geometry, or arithmetic per se; (citing Benson)
  • basic “methods of organizing human activity,” such as fundamental economic practices like market hedging and escrow transactions;” (citing Bilski and Alice) and
  • pure mental processes such as forming a judgment or observation, explaining that “something performed solely in the human mind can be thought of as abstract no matter how it is claimed.”

Director Iancu highlighted the proposed guidelines would be mostly directed to eligibility issues surrounding “abstract ideas,” and in particular guiding the examiners to determine when a claim recites or is “directed to” an abstract idea. He further revealed that the proposed PTO guidance would synthesize “abstract ideas” as falling into the following three categories*:

  1. Mathematical concepts like mathematical relationships, formulas, and calculations
  2. Certain methods of organizing human interactions, such as fundamental economic practices commercial and legal interactions; managing relationships or interactions between people; and advertising, marketing, and sales activities
  3. Mental processes, which are concepts performed in the human mind, such as forming an observation, evaluation, judgment, or opinion.

To “resolve a significant number of cases currently confounding our system,” Director Iancu said that the proposed guidance would highlight a new approach in which

“we would first look to see if the claims are within the four statutory categories: process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter…If statutory, we would then check to see if the claims recite matter within one of the judicial exceptions…If the claims at issue do not recite subject matter falling into one of these categories, then the 101 analysis is essentially concluded and the claim is eligible.”

If the claims do contain subject matter recited in one of the excluded categories, more analysis will be done as instructed by the Supreme Court to decide whether the claims are “directed to” those categories. For that purpose, Director Iancu stated that “we must first understand what the line is that the court wants us to draw to decide whether the claim is “directed to” an excluded category or not. The proposed new guidance would explain that Supreme Court jurisprudence taken together effectively allows claims that include otherwise excluded matter as long as that matter is integrated into a practical application. The line, in other words, delineates mere principles, on one hand, from practical applications of such principles, on the other.”

Citing to Supreme Court decisions, Director Iancu highlighted that the court has repeatedly told us “an application of a law of nature or mathematical formula to a known structure or process may well be deserving of patent protection,” [in Diamond v. Diehr] and that “applications of such concepts to a new and useful end … remain eligible for patent protection” [in Mayo]. The proposed guidance would emphasize that the claim is not “directed to” the prohibited matter if the claim integrates the exception into a practical application. “In such cases, the claim passes 101 and the eligibility analysis would conclude. Otherwise, [the USPTO] would move to step 2 of Alice.

Commenting on one of the main distinguishing features of the proposed guidance from the step 2 of Alice, to ensure a “meaningful dividing line between 101 and 102/103 analysis,” Director Iancu highlighted that “the first step of [the proposed] analysis does not include questions about “conventionality”…it does not matter if the “integration” steps are arguably “conventional”; as long as the integration is into a practical application, then the 101 analysis is concluded.”

In sum, Director Iancu stated that the proposed guidance for Section 101 will provide significant clarity by addressing step 1 of Alice and explaining “that eligibility rejections are to be applied only to claims that recite subject matter within the defined categories of judicial exceptions. And even then, a rejection would only be applied if the claim does not integrate the recited exception into a practical application.” The proposed guidance contemplates that conflating aspects of 35 U.S.C. §§ 102, 103, and 112 with the § 101 analysis would be minimized by going through the analysis in the figure below:

In closing remarks, Director Iancu restated the need for simplification and calls for other authorities to “join in helping us get out of the rut, at least by keeping rejections in their lane and by clearly categorizing the subject matter of any exception.” He also noted that if the revised new guidance were to be issued, it may take some time before it is finalized.

Source: https://www.bioloquitur.com/uspto-director-proposes-new-patent-eligibility-guidance/

Blockchain

Chainlink, Synthetix, Verge Price Analysis: 05 March

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The altcoin market showed that market bears were in the ascendancy over the past week, with the same likely to continue over the next few days. Chainlink approached an area of demand at $25, while Synthetix faced rejection at the $27-level. Finally, Verge flipped the $0.019-level to support, although this development could be short-lived.

Chainlink [LINK]

Chainlink, Synthetix, Verge Price Analysis: 05 March

Source: LINK/USD on TradingView

On the 4-hour chart, LINK registered rising bearish momentum as the RSI dropped below 50. It was noting a value of 40, at the time of writing, and faced an area of demand in the $24.8-$25.8 zone. This could see LINK bounce to retest the $27-level as resistance.

The imminent levels of interest seemed to be $27, as likely resistance, and $24.8, as support. A drop below $24.8 would see the bears push further and climb to touch the $23.24-level of support.

The $23.24-level has been tested as support multiple times since early February, and certain on-chain metrics did point to a fall in the number of LINK users, which, in turn, could see less demand and lead to further losses.

Synthetix [SNX]

Chainlink, Synthetix, Verge Price Analysis: 05 March

Source: SNX/USDT on TradingView

SNX was trading within a descending channel for the better part of February, and a few days ago, broke out of the pattern with a technical target of $27.

SNX tested the $24-mark as resistance but its attempts to climb any further were met with rejection. SNX has since steadily posted losses and lost the $21-level to the bears. The MACD formed a bearish crossover and began falling to show downward momentum.

Over the next few days, the $19.7 and the $18.5-$19 zone can be expected to serve as support.

Verge [XVG]

Chainlink, Synthetix, Verge Price Analysis: 05 March

Source: XVG/USDT on TradingView

The ascending trendline had some confluence with the retracement level at $0.019, and the market bulls were able to defend that level. Closing a trading session under the $0.0189-level would likely see XVG drop back towards $0.0165, while a breakout past $0.021 would be a bullish development. A move lower was the more likely scenario, given the general market conditions.

Even though the DMI showed the bullish trend gaining some strength in recent days, the trading volume was in disagreement with the rally. The Awesome Oscillator was moving above zero, but did not show bullish strength.


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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/chainlink-synthetix-verge-price-analysis-05-march

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The Flash Mint is here: WETH10 turbocharges the flash loan concept

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A team has released WETH10, the latest iteration of the Wrapped Ether token that allows using Ether (ETH) in a DeFi setting. WETH10 carries a host of useful features, the most notable of which is the flash mint, an evolution of the flash loan concept.

Flash loans allow users to borrow the entire liquidity pool of a protocol to use as they see fit, without posting collateral. The only limitation is that the loan must be returned in full within the same transaction, otherwise the loan will never exist in the first place.

In the DeFi community, flash loans are primarily a tool for arbitrage, as they offer an unlimited source of funds for anyone transacting entirely within the DeFi ecosystem. This includes liquidation bots, with one lucky liquidator making $4 million from scratch in November by using flash loans. Another class of flash loan users are hackers and protocol exploiters, who often use them as a source of funds for their attacks.

The flash loan’s prevalence in hacks has made the concept somewhat controversial, with some arguing that they are net negative for the ecosystem and should be removed. For others, they represent one of few meaningful DeFi innovations, which democratizes access to arbitrage.

One limitation of flash loans is that the total sum available for a transaction is limited by the liquidity locked in a particular protocol. This is where the concept of a flash mint comes into play — instead of taking funds from a liquidity pool, the mechanism mints tokens out of thin air and destroys them once no longer necessary.

The amount that can be obtained from a WETH10 mint is not really infinite, Alberto Cuesta Cañada, technical lead for Yield Protocol and developer of WETH10, told Cointelegraph:

“The only limitation to flash mints of WETH10 is that the flash minted amount can never exceed 2^112-1 at any given time.”

In decimal terms, the number quoted by Cuesta Cañada has 33 zeros, which should be enough to cover any liquidity needs in DeFi. In practice, if the user needs to unwrap the WETH for a particular use, there may be limitations due to how much ETH is stored on the WETH contract.

Most DeFi protocols actually use WETH in the backend, though they hide this from users by automatically wrapping and unwrapping it at each interaction. If they were to switch to WETH10, the flash mint could grow to its full potential.

Will projects adopt the new standard?

“The new standard will be adopted slowly, it it gets adopted,” said Cuesta Cañada. “It is not users, but applications, that might adopt WETH10, and nothing might be seen for at least a couple of months.”

Adopting WETH10 only for the risk of amplifying potential losses from coding mistakes may be a tough proposition, but the new token carries a host of other advantages. WETH10 includes the ability to make transactions free for the end user, and it skips the “approve token” mechanic to save on gas costs and avoid security threats. An additional benefit of WETH10 is that its flash mint is completely free, unlike flash loan protocols levying their own fees.

Cuesta Cañada believes that newer projects will have an easier time integrating the standard, with existing names possibly doing so in their next releases. It is yet unclear if DeFi projects believe the risks of flash mints outweigh the benefits from the new WETH standard. “No one has committed to use it yet, but we haven’t gone looking for it either,” said Cuesta Cañada. He concluded:

“If the selling proposition of WETH10 is good enough, it will be adopted. If it is not, such is life, we all learnt a lot and had a great time coding it.

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Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/the-flash-mint-is-here-weth10-turbocharges-the-flash-loan-concept

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Why there’s more to Chainlink’s growth than what meets the eye

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After a collective collapse a week ago, the digital asset industry recovered somewhat, before falling once again. However, it would seem that Chainlink missed the memo in the first place. In fact, AMBCrypto had recently reported about LINK’s inability to pull-forward without the assistance of strong on-chain fundamentals.

While its long-term credentials remain golden, during the aforementioned phase of corrections, LINK’s active addresses and receiving addresses fell to monthly lows. However, recent data might be suggesting a shift, one that may just confirm once again the narrative drawn by the previous article.

Chainlink’s brief rise above $30 saw significant Address Activity

Over the past 72 hours, LINK has been on a topsy-turvy journey on the charts. While the altcoin did recover briefly to touch $30, it soon fell on the back of the rest of the crypto-market reeling too.

However, what must be noted here is that when LINK was climbing, so was its on-chain activity, an observation that backed the notion that LINK’s hikes are usually always supported by strong on-chain fundamentals.

Source: Twitter

In fact, Santiment data showed that Chainlink registered its highest single-hour level of address activity over the last seven months. Around 26,700 addresses were active during the 1-hour window, a finding indicative of high on-chain activity.

The cohesion between the altcoin’s price and active address conformed with the narrative drawn in the previous article, one that highlighted the importance of network development for LINK’s value.

In the past, certain crypto-assets such as Bitcoin SV, Bitcoin Cash, etc., have depended on their correlation with Bitcoin more than anything else, for price appreciation. On the contrary, Chainlink is re-defining its interest and mostly basing its growth on market engagement.

Citi Group suggests LINK may gain upper hand against Bitcoin

Citi Group’s recent report bestowed major props to Bitcoin, identifying its intrinsic value and interest while suggesting that the asset could become the currency of choice for international trade.

In the same report, however, Citi also drew a comparison between LINK and BTC. The concluding sections of the report highlighted that Chainlink was recently recognized by the World Economic Forum as one of the 100 most promising technologies of 2020.

Chainlink has expanded beyond expectations, gaining adoption on other blockchains such as Polkadot as well. The report added,

“It is thus already possible to envision a commerce-linked or infrastructure-linked coin that may eventually eclipse Bitcoin. Innovation in the chain-based ecosystem is continuing apace and today’s offerings may yet give way to a new invention that garners more attention and assets than Bitcoin.”

Is LINK eyeing another breakout?

Source: Trading View

On the weekly chart, Chainlink seemed to be pointing towards another price hike, especially if bullish momentum is considerable over the next few weeks. As identified by the chart, Chainlink might be on its next rally phase, similar to the one it saw towards the end of July 2020. The same can be confirmed by the higher position of the 21-day Exponential Moving Average over the 20-Moving Average on LINK’s weekly price charts.

Higher accumulation at the current range may kick off the rally, therefore, keeping an eye out for whale movement will be imperative over the next few weeks.


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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/why-theres-more-to-chainlinks-growth-than-what-meets-the-eye

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