On June 19, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International. The question in the case is whether, for purposes of obtaining a patent, claims to computer-implemented inventions – including claims to a computer-implemented system for mitigating settlement risks – are directed to patent-eligible subject matter within the meaning of 35 U.S.C. § 101, as interpreted by the Supreme Court.
In an opinion delivered by Justice Thomas, the Court held unanimously that the claims at issue were drawn to the abstract idea of intermediated settlement, and that merely requiring generic computer implementation failed to transform that abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention. The Supreme Court therefore affirmed the judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Justice Sotomayor filed a concurring opinion, joined by Justices Ginsburg and Breyer.
To discuss the case, we have Prof. Adam Mossoff, Professor of Law and Co-Director of Academic Programs and Senior Scholar at the Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property, George Mason University School of Law.