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Past Event
5 August 2014
12:30 - 2:00 pm EDT


  • Andrew J. Pincus
    T +1 202 263 3220

Alice v. CLS Bank: Increased Clarity or Greater Confusion in Applying Section 101?

Course Description:

Following Bilski, among other recent precedents, the Court viewed the claims at issue, involving a method for mitigating settlement risk, as an “abstract idea,” falling within one of the judicially-created exceptions to patent eligibility under S101. In the Court’s view, the use of “generic computers” to perform the method in question was insufficient to transform an abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention, noting that the concept of intermediate settlement, i.e., using third parties to mitigate risk of default of parties to financial trading was not unlike hedging or use of an escrow agent. Many commentators already have shared their view that CLS raises more questions than answers, does not provide sufficient guidance to reduce what many believe to be too much uncertainty around the future of such patents, and have expressed concerns that innovation and investment in this critical part of the US economy are at risk. Others have said that the Court has clarified how Section 101 applies to a frequently-recurring issue, as well as provided a structure for analyzing Section 101 that can be applied to future issues. Does Alice apply to all software patents or just those that combine physical-world business methods and computer implementation? Is it “gloom and doom” for software and/or business method patents or are there lessons to be learned to increase the likelihood that business method and software patents can be drafted and prosecuted in such a way as to obtain meaningful patent protection sufficient to warrant increasing investment in such arenas?

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