Dennis J. Walsh

Document Type



Congress is empowered, under article I, section 8 of the United States Constitution, to create patent laws that encourage the promotion of arts and sciences. In the congressional fulfillment of this task, the courts have been confused as to what products are worthy of patent protection under the patent statutes. One illustration of this confusion is the recent controversy of whether living organisms fit into the statutory patentable classification of section 101 of the 1952 Patent Act. The recent United States Supreme Court decision of Diamond v. Chakrabarty has ended this confusion by holding that living micro bacteria is patentable as a "manufacture" or "composition of matter" under section 101. The author makes an exhaustive survey of the areas of confusion surrounding interpretation of the patent statutes and analyzes the Chakrabarty decision from the perspective of resolving these areas of confusion. The author ultimately agrees with the decision, but notes that although the confusion in this area is abated, the controversy still remains.