William & Mary Law Review
A patent consists of only one right: the right to exclude others from practicing the patented invention. However, one class of patents statutorily lacks the right to exclude direct infringers: surgical method patents are not enforceable against medical practitioners or health care facilities, which are the only realistic potential direct infringers of such patents. Despite this, inventors regularly file for (and receive) surgical method patents. Why would anyone incur the expense (more than $20,000 on average) of acquiring a patent on a surgical method if that patent cannot be used to keep people from using the patent?
Anderson, Jonas, "Non-Excludable Surgical Method Patents" (2020). Articles in Law Reviews & Other Academic Journals. 1956.