In last week’s post, we discussed a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Limelight v. Akamai Technologies, that could affect patent litigation. In this week’s post, we will discuss another significant Supreme Court decision regarding patent law. In Alice Corporation v. CLS Bank International, the U.S. Supreme considered whether patent claims for inventions that are implemented by computer are eligible subject matter for patents. The court held unanimously on June 19 that Alice Corporation’s patents were ineligible for patent protection because they were abstract ideas.
Alice Corporation held several patents for a method of mitigating the risk that only one party in a financial exchange would pay what it owes. The method used a computer system as a third-party intermediary to ensure that both parties meet their ends of a financial agreement. Its patents covered the method of exchanging financial obligations, the computer system that carries out the method, and the program code for performing the method.