Reference to a US Supreme Court case, Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, 573 U.S. 208 (2014), which further clarified (but not very clearly), beyond the earlier decision Bilskythe requirements for patentability of business method and software patents under 35 USC § 101. The case addressed the degree of “abstraction” permissible in a business method or software patent, and essentially held that merely suggesting a “merely” suggesting process could be performed on a computer or using software did not render the suggestion patentable.

The impact of Alice on a swathe of software patents that, to use the language of the decision, did little more than “”merely require generic computer implementation” was considerable, such that intellectual property lawyers divide extant software patents into pre-Alice and post-Alice – with the former highly likely to have invalid claims. There is also an extensive discussion of the issue in § 2016 of the US PTO’s Manual of Patent Examining Procedure or MPEP.

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