Saturday, May 11, 2013

CAFC - CLS Bank v. Alice - Software Patent Eligibility?

On May 10, the Federal Circuit delivered its 135-page opinion in CLS Bank v. Alice Corp. denying patent eligibility to Alice's software related patent claims. 6 out of 10 judges have a different view on software patent eligibility. Despite what the media says, it provides no legal precedent.

IP Watchdog reports in Federal Circuit Nightmare in CLS Bank v. Alice Corporation to not knowing what to say and being flabbergasted by the Federal Circuit's lengthy opinion. Groklaw gleefully reports "The Federal Circuit. OMG. We've worked hard for so many years to get to this point, I almost can't believe it. And I suppose it's possible it could be appealed, but this is proof of what I've always told you, that education is never a waste. Judge Rader is very upset, I gather. He has written a dissent. But he didn't prevail. And I'm sure he gave it his best effort. OMG."

Chief Judge Rader and Judge Moore wrote in dissent: "Let’s be clear: if all of these claims, including the system claims, are not patent-eligible, this case is the death of hundreds of thousands of patents, including all business method, financial system, and software patents as well as many computer implemented and telecommunications patents."

I don't see this as the end, because of the lack of unanimity, which may lead to the US Supreme Court hearing this case. Even if, I don't expect the controversy to end until (1) we don't have a US patent system; and (2) patent attorneys, software inventors, and judges agree to quit thinking about it.

See Michael Barclay's CLS Bank v. Alice Corp.: Abstractness Seems to Be a Problem With No Easy Solution, professor Dennis Crouch's CLS Bank v. Alice Corp: Court Finds Many Software Patents Ineligible, and Joe Mullin's On key software decision, top patent court grinds to a stalemate - Ten judges, seven opinions, 135 pages, zero legal precedent.

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