On June 19, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the Federal Circuit’s decision holding that the method, computer-readable medium, and system claims at issue in CLS Bank are not directed to eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int’l, No. 13-298 (June 19, 2014). Unlike the Federal Circuit’s fractured en banc decision, the Supreme Court’s opinion is unanimous and unambiguously defines the standard for applying the “abstract ideas” exception for patent eligibility determinations under 35 U.S.C. § 101. In particular, the Supreme Court made clear that (1) the “abstract idea” exception is not limited to preexisting, fundamental truths (the Supreme Court declined to consider the outer limits of the “abstract idea” exception) and (2) the implementation of an abstract idea in a particular technological environment—in CLS Bank, implementation via a computer—is not alone sufficient to transform an abstract idea into something that is patent-eligible.
Although the Supreme Court’s opinion is not the death knell for business method patents, the CLS Bank standard will likely make it easier to challenge the validity of business method patents under § 101. Further, in a separate concurring opinion, Justices Sotomayor, Ginsburg, and Breyer made clear their belief that business methods are patent-ineligible because they do not qualify as a “process” under § 101. Finally, by issuing yet another unanimous opinion in a patent case, the Supreme Court again confirmed that it will continue to resolve core, and frequently divisive, patent-law issues, notwithstanding the specialized expertise offered by the Federal Circuit.
Please see full alert below for more information.
Firefox recommends the PDF Plugin for Mac OS X for viewing PDF documents in your browser.
We can also show you Legal Updates using the Google Viewer; however, you will need to be logged into Google Docs to view them.
Please choose one of the above to proceed!
LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.
Topics: Alice Corporation, CLS Bank, CLS Bank v Alice Corp, Mayo v. Prometheus, Patent Litigation, Patent-Eligible Subject Matter, Patents, Risk Mitigation, SCOTUS, Software
Published In: Civil Procedure Updates, Intellectual Property Updates, Science, Computers & Technology Updates
DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.
© Morrison & Foerster LLP | Attorney Advertising