Ken Parker in Law360: Justices Can Finally Set Clear Rules for Software Patents


Years of conflicting Federal Circuit decisions have left attorneys baffled about when inventions implemented using a computer are eligible for a patent, but the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to finally settle the issue after it hears a case this month over financial software.

The case set for argument March 31 over the eligibility of Alice Corp.'s patents on a computerized method of reducing risk in financial trading presents the court with an ideal opportunity resolve a simmering debate over whether abstract concepts can be eligible for a patent if they are performed using a computer, attorneys say...

"What no group of judges has done is effectively come up with a test for determining what is abstract. That's a problem," said Kenneth Parker of Haynes and Boone, LLP...

According to Parker, there is a way to set clear rules on the patent eligibility of computer-implemented inventions without grappling with the question of what exactly makes an idea abstract, which former Federal Circuit Chief Judge Paul Michel suggested in an amicus brief.

Excerpted from Law360, March 21, 2014. To view full article, click here (subscription required).

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