An hour-long oral argument (PDF) at the US Supreme Court today didn’t reveal much about what kind of test the justices might install to stop overly “abstract” patents from being granted. But several justices did seem skeptical about the idea that Australian holding company Alice Corp. had invented much of anything with its patents on a form of financial risk-management.
Today’s case: An Australian patent holder’s idea boils down to 7 lines of code.
Alice Corp v. CLS Bank could be the most wide-ranging patent case in years if the justices choose to install a new test on software or “business method” patents. They last addressed the issue in Bilski, but that case left in place a rule that was unevenly applied. And the chaotic state of the law became clear when the Alice v. CLS case resulted in a deeply fractured set of opinions from the nation’s top patent court.
I doubt that SCOTUS will cough up a ruling that will stand the global financial system on its ear, but with this court, one never knows.