BYU Law Review


Paul Spiel


Moral utility largely prevents the granting of a patent if the patent would be injurious to the well-being of society. The moral utility doctrine has prevailed through much of American patent history and still endures in many parts of the world. In Juicy Whip I, the Federal Circuit chose to abandon the doctrine, but the court’s rationale in support of the decision was ill-suited. The court’s holding sanctioned deceptive patent applications but, intentionally or unintentionally, neglected applicable unfair competition, free speech, and consumer deception doctrines. In light of the Intellectual Property Clause of the U.S. Constitution, deceptive patents should be barred, because they convey no inherently useful qualities beyond deceiving consumers.


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