Supreme Court to Take Case on Patentability of Software
On Friday, the Supreme Court granted a writ of certiorari in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l (Docket No. 13-298). In this case, the Court will take up the issue of:
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.
This case is on appeal from a fractured en banc opinion of the Federal Circuit, which considered whether Alice Corp.’s software related patents contained patent eligible subject matter. The Alice Corp. patents provide a basis for addressing this contested issue because the patents employed three common methods for claiming software inventions: method claims, computer readable medium claims, and system claims.
In the Federal Circuit’s en banc opinion:
- 5 judges affirmed the District Court’s decision and concluded that the method, computer readable medium and system claims were all patent ineligible subject matter;
- 2 judges concluded that the method and computer readable medium claims were patent ineligible, but the system claims were patent eligible;
- 3 judges concluded that the method, computer readable medium and system claims were all patent eligible subject matter.
Gibbons will continue to monitor and report developments on this important front.