In Secure Axcess, LLC v. PNC Bank National Association, et al., Appeal No. 2016-1353, the Federal Circuit held that method claims do not fall under CBM review where the claims are only incidental to a financial activity. A CBM patent requires that the claim contains a financial activity element.

The Federal Circuit reversed the Board’s conclusion that the patent at issue is a CBM patent. The court held that the Board misinterpreted the statutory definition of a covered business method patent under AIA § 18(a)(1)(E) and improperly broadened the scope of the statute. The AIA defines a CBM patent as one which “claims a method or corresponding apparatus for performing data processing or other operations used in the practice, administration, or management of a financial product or service . . . .” AIA § 18(d)(1). The Federal Circuit clarified that for a patent to fall within CBM review, it must include a claim that contains a financial activity. Specifically, at least one claim, when properly construed in light of the written description, must contain a finance-related activity. The Federal Circuit cited to Versata, 793 F.3d 1306 (Fed. Cir. 2015), Blue Calypso, 815 F.3d 1331 (Fed. Cir. 2016), and SightSound, 809 F.3d 1307 (Fed. Cir. 2015) as exemplary cases where the patents at issue were held to be within the CBM provision.

In this case, the claims were directed to “systems and methods for authenticating a web page.” The claims’ only connection to a financial activity was that the invention could be used, for example, on a commercial or bank website. Accordingly, the Federal Circuit held that the method and apparatus claimed by the patent were not subject to CBM review.