Supreme Court to Consider Case on Patent Eligibility of Computer-Implemented Inventions
On December 6, 2013, the Supreme Court agreed to consider Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, a case concerning the patent eligibility of computer-implemented inventions. The Court will review a split decision issued by the en banc Federal Circuit in May 2013. In that decision, seven of 10 judges concluded Alice Corporation’s claims to computer-based methods for minimizing settlement risk in financial transactions, as well as claims to computer-readable media containing program code for performing such methods, constituted patent-ineligible subject matter under § 101. The judges split evenly, however, regarding the patent eligibility of Alice’s remaining claims to computerized systems for performing such transactions. Given the stark differences of opinion expressed by members of the Federal Circuit, it was widely predicted that the Supreme Court would step in to settle the dispute. The Court’s decision could have significant implications for the computer hardware and software industries, as well as for patent eligibility standards in general.
The Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments in early 2014, and a decision is expected by the end of the term in June 2014. The case number is 13-298.