Disabling Patentability for Skill-Based Inventions: Keeping Patent Law Aligned with Competition Policy

Neeraj Arora, Yale Law School

"Forthcoming: 22 Santa Clara Computer & High Technology Law Journal."


This Article proposes that allowing patents on a new trans-industry class of inventions, called skill-based inventions, is harmful to innovation. Skill-based inventions are defined as those inventions which rely upon the skill of the user for their efficacy. The primary argument advanced is that allowing patents on these inventions would significantly interfere with the natural development of innovation through competition on the free market. The Federal Circuit can surgically bar these inventions from patentability using a re-invigorated version of the § 112 enablement requirement.