Developments in Patent Law 2013; The D.C. Bar Year in Review


In this article:

- Patentability, Validity, and Procurement of Patents

- Interpretation and Infringement of Patents

- Enforcement of Patents

- Patents at the U.S. Supreme Court

- Excerpt from Patentability, Validity, and Procurement of Patents:

Statutory Subject Matter – Computer Software and Genes.

CLS Bank International v. Alice Corp. PTY. Ltd., 717 F.3d 1269 (Fed. Cir. 2013), superseding 685 F.3d 1341 (Fed. Cir. 2012). Alice Corp. is the owner of four patents that cover a computerized trading platform for exchanging obligations in which a trusted third party settles obligations between a first and second party to eliminate settlement risk, which is the risk that only one party’s obligation will be paid. Threetypes of patent claims were at issue: (1) method claims; (2) computer-readable media claims; and (3) system claims. The district court held that all the claims were not patent- eligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101 because they fell within the “abstract ideas” exception to patentability. A panel of the Federal Circuit initially reversed, holding that the claims were directed to practical applications of the invention falling within the categories of patent eligible subject matter. The panel stated that it must be “manifestly evident that a claim is directed to a patent ineligible abstract idea” before it will be ruled invalid. The Federal Circuit later granted a petition for rehearing en banc.

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