Stalemate in CLS v. Alice

by David Berry on May 10, 2013

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decided CLS Bank Int’l v. Alice Corp. today.  In 7 opinions spanning 135 or so pages, the court affirmed the determination that the method, media and system claims were all ineligible. But the judges could not agree on a cogent approach for determining eligibility of computer-implemented processes and related inventions under 35 U.S.C.   § 101  (which was the purpose for granting en banc review). So it looks like the issue will continue to fester.  As Chief Judge Rader notes in his opinion,

No portion of any opinion issued today other than our Per Curiam Judgment garners a majority. The court is evenly split on the patent eligibility of the system claims. Although a majority of the judges on the court agree that the method claims do not recite patent eligible subject matter, no majority of those judges agrees as to the legal rationale for that conclusion. Accordingly, though much is published today discussing the proper approach to the patent eligibility inquiry, nothing said today beyond our judgment has the weight of precedent.

Rader Concur Op. at 1 n.1. The decision (or lack thereof)  is HERE.

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