Shook Staff Attorney Craig Edgar authored an article for the Creighton Law Review detailing the evolution of the natural products exception in patentability jurisprudence. The article explores changes to the exception since its inception in U.S. law, from the Patent Act of 1790 to modern case law developments such as Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int'l.
Edgar argues that the standard for non-obviousness is nearly nonexistent after centuries of decisions clarifying, altering or misinterpreting the natural products exception. "Novel and significantly useful inventions should receive a patent grant," he explains. "Those 'too darned simple' should be refused."
"Patent lawyers ignore the patent crisis at their peril. Many patent lawyers and judges fear decisions like Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories Inc. and Alice as a deviation from traditional patent law. In actuality, the lack of patent quality was a concern from the very formation of the Republic," Edgar warns. "It is imperative we have a patent system that supports innovation and disclosure, has the support of the public, and can be defended as a valid use of governmental power."
Craig Edgar, Patenting Nature: Isn't It Obvious?, 50 Creighton L. Rev. 1, 49 (2016).