Law - Scientific or Mathematical Theory

In interpreting U.S. patent law, the courts have decided that "scientific principles," "laws of nature," "abstract ideas," and "physical phenomena" are unpatentable. They are considered "manifestations of . . . nature, free to all men and reserved exclusively to none" [Diamond v. Chakrabarty, 206 USPQ 193 (1980)]. However, the courts have recognized that all inventions must incorporate, rely on or use these raw materials of the natural world. Thus, simply because an invention relies on the law of gravity or the law of relativity or any other scientific or mathematical theory does not make it unpatentable (35 U.S.C. 101). A famous judge once noted that only God can create new laws of nature and that Man must be satisfied to make inventions that operate within those laws.

The position of the USPTO on this issue is described in the following section(s) of the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP):

MPEP 706.03(a) - Rejections under 35 U.S.C. 101
MPEP 2105 - Patentable Subject Matter - Living Subject Matter

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