Examining 101 Rejections in Office Actions by Technology Center
For more than two years, Rowan has been examining a variety of statistics related to patent preparation and prosecution. Many of our newsletters have focused on Office actions that have received a rejection based on a 112 issue. This month we thought it would be interesting to delve into another type of rejection, this time those based on a 101 issue.
As we probably all know, Section 101 of the Patent Act states that patents may be granted on “any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter.” This is sometimes referred to as the “subject matter eligibility”. Laws of nature, abstract ideas and natural phenomena are some of the examples of exceptions to statutory subject matter, and therefore applications that are determined to cover these subjects have the potential to receive a 101 rejection.
To study this, we looked at approximately 15,000 patent applications filed mostly in 2019 and 2020 and analyzed the various rejections cited in Office actions that these applications received. For those applications that received an Office action including a rejection based on a 101 issue, we then further divided them by Technology Center, and also by status: abandoned, in active prosecution, and allowed/issued.
The below graph shows the percentage of office actions including a 101 rejection against the total sample.