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Supreme Court Grants Cert in Alice Corporation v. CLS Bank

By Eugene T. Perez

In a case dealing with statutory subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101, the Supreme Court has granted certiorari in Alice Corporation v. CLS Bank International:


Oral arguments are set for March 31, 2014.

In 2007, CLS Bank filed suit to declare Alice’s patents as invalid.  In 2011, the district court for the District of Columbia on summary judgment declared the patents as invalid for lack of statutory subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101.[1]

On May 10, 2013, the Federal Circuit en banc held the patents invalid as well in CLS Bank Int’l v. Alice Corp., 717 F.3d 1269 (Fed. Cir. 2013) (en banc).[2] The court held that the method, computer-readable medium, and corresponding system claims recite patent-ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. However, there were differing opinions among the 10 judges.   Judges Dyk, Prost, Reyna and Wallach concurred with J. Lourie on a concurring opinion. But there was another opinion that concurred-in-part and dissented-in-part by several judges; a third opinion that dissented-in-part by several judges; a fourth opinion that dissented-in-part by one judge; and reflections by Judge Rader.

On cert., the Supreme Court will address the following question:

“Whether claims to computer-implemented inventions-including claims to systems and machines, processes, and items of manufacture-are directed to patent-eligible subject matter within the meaning of 35 U.S.C. § 101 as interpreted by this Court?”[3]

  1. 768 F.Supp. 2d 221 (D.D.C. 2011).
  2. http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/images/stories/opinions-orders/11-1301.Opinion.5-8-2013.1.PDF.
  3. http://www.supremecourt.gov/qp/13-00298qp.pdf.