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How is the markedly different characteristics analysis performed?
The markedly different characteristics analysis compares the nature-based product limitation to its naturally occurring counterpart in its natural state.
- Markedly different characteristics can be expressed as the product’s structure, function, and/or other properties, and are evaluated based on what is recited in the claim on a case-by-case basis.
- If the analysis indicates that a nature-based product limitation does not exhibit markedly different characteristics, then that limitation is a product of nature exception.
- If the analysis indicates that a nature-based product limitation does have markedly different characteristics, then that limitation is not a product of nature exception.
The answer to this question can be found in chapter 2100 of the MPEP. This chapter covers Patentability.
The answer is from the 9th Edition, Revision 10.2019. Depending on future changes to the MPEP, the question and answer may or may not be applicable in later Editions or revisions.
This question and answer come from section 2106.04(c) of the MPEP. The following is a brief summary of section 2106.04(c).
2106.04(c) The Markedly Different Characteristics Analysis
The markedly different characteristics analysis is part of Step 2A Prong One, because the courts use this analysis to identify product of nature exceptions. For example, Chakrabarty relied on a comparison of the claimed bacterium to naturally occurring bacteria when determining that the claimed bacterium was not a product of nature because it had “markedly different characteristics from any found in nature”. Similarly, Roslin relied on a comparison of the claimed sheep to naturally occurring sheep when determining that the claimed sheep was a product of nature because it “does not possess ‘markedly different characteristics from any [farm animals] found in nature.’”
This section sets forth guidelines for performing the markedly different characteristics analysis, including information on when to perform the analysis, and how to perform the analysis.