On Friday, CCIA, which operates Patent Progress, filed an amicus brief in the en banc rehearing of CLS Bank v. Alice Corporation in the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CCIA’s brief focused mostly on the first question presented:
What test should the court adopt to determine whether a computer-implemented invention is a patent ineligible ‘abstract idea’; and when, if ever, does the presence of a computer in a claim lend patent eligibility to an otherwise patent-ineligible idea?
The CCIA brief explained that, particularly in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Mayo v. Prometheus, the Federal Court should provide helpful guidance on the limits of patentable subject matter; patents should not be granted on abstract ideas, like the ones at issue in this case. Matt Schruers (who was the named attorney on the brief and co-authored it with Brian Kahin) recently discussed the concept of abstract patents in a great blog post.
While Congress has enacted a patent system, it has done so against an implicit understanding that our economy and society is based on the principle of free markets and unfettered competition. The complex and costly regime of privately enforced regulatory rights, subsidized by public funding of a judicial system, derogates from that principle in the name of innovation. Accordingly, the patent system must be justified by whether it works to support innovation.
We at Patent Progress think that the patent system can do a better job of supporting innovation, and we are encouraged that the Federal Circuit is rehearing this case. We support common-sense patent reforms coming from the courts and Congress.