SCOTUS says abstract ideas not patentable, even with computer help
© 2014 The Texas Lawbook.
By Jeff Bounds
Staff Writer for The Texas Lawbook
In a case that may affect at least one pending suit, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that abstract ideas are not patentable, even if a computer helps automate the application of them.
In a case highly watched by the software industry, the justices ruled invalid patent claims of intellectual property controlled by Alice Corp., which had asserted infringement by CLS Bank International, the operator of a computerized network for settling currency exchange transactions. Alice’s patent essentially covers a computer program that performs the traditional role of an escrow agent, according to one outside expert.
“The principal issue facing the Supreme Court (Thursday) was whether Alice’s patent was nothing more than an abstract idea, which is not patentable, or alternatively a new and useful software invention, deserving of patent protection,” said Adam Sanderson, a partner at Reese Gordon Marketos in Dallas.