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Pyramid Building with SCOTUS: Alice v CLS Bank

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CapitolThe Alice v CLS Bank Supreme Court case has generated a lot of heat and light recently with over 50 amicus briefs filed, countless blog posts, and even a slew of newspaper articles on the subject. With commentary from the pro-software patents and anti-software patents side of the fence, the case was billed as either merely an opportunity to validate recent cases on the issue of patentable subject matter and section 101 (Bilski, Mayo & Myriad) or the End of Days Software Patents. Monday (31 March 2014) saw the oral arguments in front of the Supreme Court of the United States. Would this provide an indication of how the case would go?

With its repeated references to King Tut (4) and abacuses (8) you could perhaps be forgiven for thinking that the Justices were playing some kind of an Egyptian Bingo game at our expense. Despite the best efforts of Alice’s counsel to make the case for patent eligibility of the Alice patents, the line of questioning from the Justices suggested that the court was moving towards a rather focussed decision that would parallel the results of other cases and find that the patents in question merely related to the use of computers to facilitate an abstract idea. Whatever the thinking of the court however we won’t have long to wait with a decision expected in June.

Mark Richardson 3 April 2014


The above article was first published on the 2 Paragraphs website (As the name suggests all posts to the 2 Paragraphs site are two paragraphs in length!).

The original version of the article can be found here. It is noted that the 2 Paragraphs version of the article was modified slightly by the editor to include the comment “(At the heart of the case is whether processes long in practice–such as hedging–are essentially changed when handled via a specific computer-enabled method into something new and protectible by patent.)” and the comment “(The references were meant to drive home the longevity of some common practices that obviously predate Microsoft, et al.)”.

The IPcopy version of the article above also clarifies that the oral arguments were held on 31 March.

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