On July 26, the Federal Circuit held in Bancorp v. Sun Life that computer based patents are invalid for lacking patentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The Court held that if computer limitations are not “integral to the claimed invention” or drawn to “a very specific application of the inventive concept,” then methods for administering and tracking the value of life insurance policies are not patentable. Specifically, if the claim merely involves a computer doing calculations more efficiently than could be done by mental processes, then the claim is not patentable.
As with many of these cases, the issue is whether a computer is actually required. The Court held that held that the presence of a computer could be treated as “equivalent to an abstract mental process for purposes of patent eligibility.”
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