Section 101 of the Patent Act broadly defines the scope of patent eligibility to include “any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.” But the Supreme Court has long recognized an implied exception for laws of nature, physical phenomena, and abstract ideas, because granting a patent monopoly for these “building blocks” of human ingenuity would impede innovation.
In a unanimous decision issued June 19, 2014, the Court in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, No. 13-298, held that an abstract idea cannot be made patent-eligible by implementation on a generic computer. The Court held that when a patent claim is "drawn to [an] abstract idea," then "merely requiring generic computer implementation fails to transform that abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention." This widely awaited decision provides important clarity regarding the application of Section 101 to computer-implemented inventions.
Please join Andy Pincus, Stephen Baskin, and Saqib Siddiqui as they analyze the decision and discuss:
- The implications of Alice Corp. for challenges to patents involving computer-implemented claims.
- What this means for the future of “business method” patents and software patents.
- Why the Supreme Court opted not to provide a “bright-line” test of determining patent eligibility.
- How to use the recent 101 decisions as part of your litigation defense strategy.