|December 13, 2013|
Previously published on December 9, 2013
In a previous blog post, we queried whether the U.S. Supreme Court would weigh in on the debate over the extent to which software should be patentable. For at least one case, we now have our answer. On Friday, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in the in Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int’l case.
In the case, Alice Corp. is appealing an en banc decision of the Federal Circuit. In that decision, the Federal Circuit held that all of the claims in the patents being asserted by Alice Corp. against CLS Bank are directed to ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Those claims recite computer-implemented systems and methods for conducting financial transactions. The panel of 10 judges was deeply fractured and failed to produce a majority opinion.
The question now presented to the Supreme Court by Alice Corp. on appeal is:
Whether claims to computer-implemented inventions—including claims to systems and machines, processes, and items of manufacture—are directed to patent-eligible subject matter within the meaning of 35 U.S.C. § 101 as interpreted by this Court?
The Supreme Court is likely to hear oral arguments in March and could issue a ruling as early as the end of June.
The Supreme Court has not taken any action regarding WildTangent, Inc. v. Ultramercial, LLC, the companion subject matter eligibility case for which certiorari has been sought.