Features

More clarity emerges around software patent eligibility in the United States

By Matt Levy

US software patent eligibility may not be the nightmare that some claim, with recent Federal Circuit decisions fleshing out the Supreme Court’s pivotal ruling in Alice

The debate over which inventions are eligible for patenting has gone on for at least a century and a half and shows no sign of ending any time soon. The Supreme Court re-energised the arguments after a 20-year break with its decisions in Bilski v Kappos (130 S Ct 3218 (2010)), Mayo Collaborative Servs v Prometheus Labs (132 S Ct 1289 (2012)), Ass’n for Molecular Pathology v Myriad Genetics, Inc (133 S Ct 2107 (2013)) and Alice Corp Pty Ltd v CLS Bank Intern (134 S Ct 2347 (2014)). There has been much discussion on whether the court has made things better or worse, with some prominent voices arguing that it has made such a muddle of things that Section 101 of USC Title 35 should be repealed altogether.

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