Patent News and Views

CLS Bank vs. Alice Corporation: -- Amici Curiae

The 4A's joins Google, Amazon & other tech leaders as Amici Curiae in support of CLS Bank's patent case vs Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd.

The summary argument in the amicus brief notes "Patents that merely claim abstract ideas implemented on computers or over the Internet are invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Such patents add nothing meaningful to the abstract idea."

The brief focuses in three points:

First: "patent claims that simply describe an abstract idea such as financial intermediation, and generically recite the use of conventional computer or other data processing equipment to carry out that idea, are not patentable. Instead, a claim must disclose and limit itself to a specific way of implementing the idea with a computer or computing system."

Second: "patent eligibility should generally be resolved as a matter of law at the outset of a case."

Third: "abstract software patents have become a plague on computer-related industries". The brief also notes:"Far from promoting innovation, abstract software patents have impaired it by granting exclusive rights over high-level ideas and thereby blocking others from undertaking the truly innovative task of developing specific applications. In light of the ever-growing use of computerized equipment in a wide variety of settings, abstract software patents would stifle innovation in an increasingly wide circle of industries"

You can access the complete amici curiae in support of CLS Bank's patent case vs Alice Corporation Pty.Ltd. here (PDF) .


SCOTUS Speaks: Patents May Only be Invalidated Under "Clear and Convincing" Standard

"This morning the Supreme Court released it's opinion in Microsoft v. i4i, and provided "clean sweep" support (10-0) that patents may only be invalidated under "clear and convincing" evidence."


CyberSource Corp. v. Retail Decisions, Inc. - decision raises the patent-eligibility bar for software

Excerpts from commentary

On August 16, 2011, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued its decision in CyberSource Corp. v. Retail Decisions, Inc., affirming patent-ineligibility of a reexamined software patent. The patent-in-dispute, U.S. Patent 6,029,154, is directed to detecting credit card fraud on the Internet and claims 2 and 3 were at issue. The court’s reasoning recognized that software is still patent-eligible after Bilski, but held that the bar has been raised – which has important implications for the software industry.

The court’s categorical treatment of human intelligence as patent-ineligible also has implications for those software disciplines studying software algorithms that mimic human intelligence (e.g., artificial intelligence and machine learning).

Patent prosecution in light of In Re: Klein

In a recent appeal of a United States Patent Office (“USPTO”) final rejection of a claim, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit enunciated a rule that would limit the ability of patent Examiners to rely on disparate prior art references as the basis for an obviousness rejection when they could not be shown to be pertinent to the problem the inventor sought to solve. In re Klein, No. 10-1411, 2011 WL 2178134 (Fed. Cir. June 6, 2011).

Specifically, the Federal Circuit sided with the patent applicant and rejected the USPTO Board of Patent Appeals and Interference’s obviousness conclusions. The court held that none of the five cited prior art references could be considered “analogous art” because they were relevant to only a portion of the problem to be solved by inventor Klein’s invention, and were therefore excluded from the court’s obviousness analysis. Although arguably contrary to conventional patent prosecution practices, the holding in Klein may provide incentive for prosecutors to include, in limited conditions, a statement of purpose in the independent claims.

Read the rest of the analysis.


Text of the Supreme Court opinion - Microsoft Corp. v. i4i Limited Partnership

Link to PDF at the Supreme Court website: