Author: Ashley Clever, Contributing Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review
This is a question many practicing patent attorneys are wondering in the wake of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Alice Corporation PTY. LTD. v. CLS Bank International on June 19, 2014. In Alice v. CLS, the Supreme Court invalidated four patents owned by Alice Corporation relating to a system for mitigating settlement risk by using a third-party intermediary computer system to exchange financial obligations, ensuring the parties in the settlement agreement completed the transaction. The Court held that the patents claimed an abstract idea that was not sufficiently transformed in order to render the subject matter eligible for patent protection.
While the Supreme Court does not typically grant certiorari on many patent law cases, in recent years there have been numerous questions on what inventions are entitled to receive patent protection, particularly regarding what is patentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101.