The U.S. supreme Court has heard oral argument in a case, which raised  significant interest in the technology community and generated dozens  of amicus briefs, to consider whether “claims to computer-implemented  inventions—including claims to systems and machines, processes, and  items of manufacture—are directed to patent-eligible subject matter  within the meaning of 35 u.s.C. § 101 as interpreted by” the Court. Alice  Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int’l, No. 13-298 (u.s., argued March 31, 2014). 

The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals en banc majority affirmed the district  court’s holding that the asserted method and computer-readable media  claims were not patent eligible, and an equally divided court affirmed  the lower court’s determination that the asserted system claims were not  patent eligible under the statute. According to commentators, the Court’s last foray into the issue—Bilski  v. Kappos—left the topic in disarray when it determined that a hedging  method patent was too abstract and thus not patentable. Its reasoning  gave the Federal Circuit little guidance, and in fact, that court issued seven  separate opinions here. The petitioner has urged the court to correct Bilski and return to essential principles, allowing patents for any invention that  does not describe a fundamental truth only. A decision in the matter,  which will be considered one of the most significant patent cases in  decades if the Court reverses the Federal Circuit, is expected by June.