Sunday, December 9, 2012

CLS Bank v. Alice Corp. - Amici Briefs Addressing Software Patents

Software patent eligibility is a controversial topic today. 

The Federal Circuit opinions in July 2012: CLS Bank International v. Alice Corporation in favor of patent eligibility and Bancorp Services v. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada against patent eligibility highlight this controversy.

The Federal Circuit granted CLS Bank International's petition for a rehearing en banc, vacated the decision on software patent eligibility, reinstated the appeal, and invited the parties and amici to file briefs addressing the following questions:

a. What test should the court adopt to determine whether a computer-implemented invention is a patent ineligible "abstract idea”; and when, if ever, does the presence of a computer in a claim lend patent eligibility to an otherwise patent-ineligible idea?

b. In assessing patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101 of a computer-implemented invention, should it matter whether the invention is claimed as a method, system, or storage medium; and should such claims at times be considered equivalent for § 101 purposes?

Now the amici briefs are arriving. On December 6, King & Spalding filed an amicus brief on behalf of some leading tech companies: Google Inc., Dell Inc., Facebook, Inc., Homeaway, Inc., Intuit Inc., Rackspace Hosting, Inc. Red Hat, Inc., and Zynga Inc. at the Court of Appeals for Federal Circuit.

See the Google et al. brief as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation's brief in the Wall Street Journal article: Facebook, Google and Others Rally Against Sweeping Claims in Financial Patent Case. Thanks to Alan Cooper for sending this article!

For details see my earlier post: CLS Bank v. Alice - Federal Circuit Revisits Test for Software Patent Eligibility

Copyright © 2012 Robert Moll. All rights reserved.