For the past 200 years, the federal patent laws have been used to encourage advances in scientific and technological areas. Pursuant to its constitutional authority "To Promote the Progress of Science and the Useful Arts," Congress has provided statutory protection for new and useful inventions. Consistent with constitutional and congressional mandates, patent rights have been granted for inventions which were diverse in both subject matter and complexity. For instance, the scope of patentable subject matter now extends to such highly sophisticated and revolutionary technologies as lasers, computers, and photocopiers.
Eric W. Guttag,
The Patentability of Microorganisms: Statutory Subject Matter and Other Living Things,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol13/iss2/5