PublishedDecember 10, 2012

CCIA Filed an Amicus Brief Friday in CLS Bank v. Alice Corp

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.

This case has the potential to bring some much-needed sense and balance back into the patent system and fix a lot of ongoing, systemic problems.  In the conclusion of CCIA’s brief, we explained that:

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.

Ali Sternburg


Ali Sternburg is Vice President, Information Policy at the Computer & Communications Industry Association, where she focuses on intermediary liability, copyright, and other areas of intellectual property. Ali joined CCIA during law school in 2011, and previously served as Senior Policy Counsel, Policy Counsel, and Legal Fellow. She is also an Inaugural Fellow at the Internet Law & Policy Foundry.

She received her J.D. in 2012 from American University Washington College of Law, where she was a Student Attorney in the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic, President of the Intellectual Property Law Society, Senior Symposium Chair and Senior Marketing Manager for the Intellectual Property Brief, and a Dean’s Fellow at the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property.

She graduated from Harvard College in 2009 where she studied Government and Music, wrote her senior honors thesis on “Theoretical and Legal Views on U.S. Government Involvement in Musical Creativity Online,” and interned at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School.

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