June Cohan, Legal Advisor to the USPTO, on patentable subject matter eligibility in the life sciences (Patent Quality Update Forum, NC Bar Center)

June Cohan, Legal Advisor to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (in the Office of Patent Legal Administration) was a featured guest speaker at the Patent Quality Update Forum on January 25, 2017.


Image courtesy of patentdocs.com

She presented and led discussion with respect to the recent changes in subject matter eligibility (35 USC § 101), particularly with respect to life sciences fields of art.

In particular, June discussed significant details as to recent court holdings that are providing progressively greater confidence and predictability as to what claimed subject matter will be successful. Certain holdings give insight as to what will be interpreted as claim ineligible judicial-exception subject matter (natural phenomena, abstract ideas, products of nature). Other holdings inform as to what sorts of details provide a claim with “significantly more” details than what would otherwise be considered to fall within one of the ineligible subject matter judicial exceptions.

June also described the training which examiners are being given, in order to ensure quality in application of the USPTO’s Guidance instructions to ensure that subject matter eligibility is being considered correctly and consistently.

She graciously provided me with a copy of her slides from the presentation, and has allowed me to post them on beckerpatent.com.

Link to June Cohan’s slides:


For more information about subject matter eligibility, on uspto.gov:


Some particularly good stuff available at that^ link


For more on patent eligible subject matter, here are a few links to some previously-posted related content:



Note: on “patentable? 1 minute…”: there is the 1:11 version originally posted, a link to the video(s) on my youtube channel, a version of the video that was created as a Facebook live video, and the link to my Facebook page, where that original post can be found (5,500+ views!): https://www.facebook.com/Beckerpatent/)