The Patent Eligibility Bar Gets Raised Again

Yet, for the fourth time in 150 years, the Supreme Court fails to clearly distinguish between an invention and an idea

3 min read

Put yourself in the year 1850. You’ve just discovered electro­magnetism—the idea that current in a wire produces a magnetic field. In quick ­succession you invent an electromagnet (a coiled wire wrapped around a nail and connected to a battery), a telegraph system employing the electromagnet, and finally, a rudimentary electric motor, including permanent magnets on a rotor and electromagnets fashioned as a stator.


For which of these are you entitled to a patent? Few would seriously dispute the eligibility of the motor and the telegraph. But what about the electromagnet? Wouldn’t it be nearly the same as patenting electromagnetism itself?


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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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