Dramatic Changes in U.S. Patent Law: The Implications for Bioinformatics

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Seaport World Trade Center
200 Seaport Blvd.
Boston, MA 02210

April 7, 2016
10:40 a.m.

John Conley presented at the Bio-IT World Conference & Expo 2016. His session, "Dramatic Changes in U.S. Patent Law: The Implications for Bioinformatics," covered the following:

Not too long ago, patents on software and software-based analytical methods--in medicine, finance, and business generally--were commonplace and concern about their effects was profound. Now, after a series of Supreme Court cases that brought about a dramatic shift in the approach taken by the lower courts and the Patent Office, those patents are facing legal extinction. These developments matter to bioinformatics: because of the centrality of software-dependent data analysis, whether that software can be patented—directly or indirectly—is a question of enormous economic significance to the industry. Whether software patents look like a good or bad thing will depend on where you are positioned in the industry—that is, are you primarily a creator of analytical tools or a user of others’ creations? This presentation explained the recent developments in patent law and their legal, practical and economic implications for the bioinformatics industry. The audience gained an understanding of 1) why patents play an important role in bioinformatics; 2) the dramatic changes in the patentability of software-based analytical methods that have occurred over the past three to five years; 3) the implications of these changes for the bioinformatics industry, in legal, practical and economic terms; and 4) the differential effects of these changes, depending on whether one is positioned as a producer or consumer of analytical inventions.

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