On Thursday, June 19, 2014, the United States Supreme Court passed a unanimous judgement upholding a Federal Circuit Court’s decision to strike down claims by Alice Corp in the much talked about case of Alice v. CLS Bank. The United States Supreme Court declared that the claims made by Alice in its patents were too abstract to enforce and therefore invalid.
Relying on a few earlier judgements, the Court stated that simply using a computer to perform a known algorithm does not make an abstract idea patentable. However, the Court did acknowledge that a very broad view of patent ineligibility would defeat the purpose of the patent law and would render most inventions ineligible for patent protection; however the Alice claims were still too abstract to be enforced. In its judgement, the Supreme Court stated:
“We tread carefully in construing this exclusionary principle lest it swallow all of patent law. At some level, all inventions . . . embody, use, reflect, rest upon, or apply laws of nature, natural phenomena, or abstract ideas. Thus, an invention is not rendered ineligible for patent simply because it involves an abstract concept.”