Printed-Matter Doctrine Law and Legal Definition

Printed matter doctrine is a principle of patent law that says printed matter may not be patented unless it is a physical part of a patentable invention.

The following are examples of case law discussing the doctrine:

The test for application of the printed matter doctrine is that where the printed matter is not functionally related to the substrate, the printed matter will not distinguish the invention from the prior art in terms of patentability.[Bloomstein v. Paramount Pictures Corp., 1999 U.S. App. LEXIS 21391 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 3, 1999)]

Printed matter alone and by itself does not constitute a 'manufacture' and is not within the statutory classes of patentable subject matter. However, as an exception to this rule, printed matter may constitute an element of a patentable claim if the claim involves a new and useful feature of physical structure or a new and useful relation between the printed matter and the physical structure.[Bloomstein v. Paramount Pictures Corp., 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20839 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 10, 1998)