Federal Circuit Still Confused Over Software Patents - Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal
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Federal Circuit Still Confused Over Software Patents

Federal Circuit Still Confused Over Software Patents

In an en banc decision, the Federal Circuit has affirmed its decision to hold that Alice Corp.’s claims to a computerized method for assisting with closing financial transactions in a way that avoids settlement risk, were patent ineligible.  Out of the ten-judge panel, seven judges agreed that the patents lacked patentable subject matter but no one opinion garnered a majority with regards to the standard for evaluating eligibility.  All the judges agreed that uniformity in such standards is much needed in the area of computer-related inventions.  Of particular note, Chief Judge Rader’s dissent remarked:

I enjoy good writing and a good mystery, but I doubt that innovation is promoted when subjective and empty words like “contribution” or “inventiveness” are offered up by the courts to determine investment, resource allocation, and business decisions. Again, it is almost . . . well, “obvious” . . . to note that when all else fails, it makes sense to consult the simplicity, clarity, and directness of the statute.

As I start my next quarter century of judicial experience, I am sure that one day I will reflect on this moment as well. I can only hope it is a brighter reflection than I encounter today.

The mystery of patent eligibility remains unsolved.

Tiffany Mahmood

Tiffany Mahmood is a second year student at Fordham University School of Law and the incoming Editor-in-Chief for Volume 24 of the IPLJ. Originally from London, England, Tiffany studied to become a wig-wearing British Barrister before moving to the United States. She is a Senior Conference Fellow at the Fordham IP Institute, assisting in organizing the annual Fordham Intellectual Property Conference, and plans to pursue a career in Patent law in the U.S.