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Confusion over business methods debated in CLS v Alice today

The Federal Circuit will consider questions which may redefine the law on US business method patents as it begins its en banc rehearing of CLS Bank v Alice today

The Court ordered the en banc rehearingafter overturning its controversial 2-1 decision in July 2012 to affirm Alice’s patent claims for a computerised trading system which minimises risk.

The case, which dates back to CLS's 2007 suit seeking to invalidate Alice's patents, hinges on what constitutes a patent-ineligible abstract idea.

The judges have agreed to consider questions central to the confusion surrounding what constitutes patent eligibility under section 101. These include what test the court should adopt to determine whether a computer-implemented invention is an abstract idea and in what circumstances, if any, computer implementation makes an otherwise abstract idea patent-eligible.

The court will also attempt to decide whether it matters if the invention is claimed as a method, system, or storage medium, and whether such claims should at times be considered equivalent for section 101 purposes.

Mark Perry of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher is representing CLS Bank and CLS Services and Adam Perlman of Williams & Connolly is representing Alice in the case.

The recording of the en banc hearing will be available on the Federal Circuit’s website later today.

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