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When is a Patent Subject to CBM Review

Posted Thursday, February 23, 2017 by Jim Ruttler

There is a procedure to challenge business method patents that sunsets in September of 2020. Until that time, it is a popular way to challenge patents because it allows for review under all statutory provisions, including Section 101 for ineligible subject matter. The IPR alternative to challenging patents is not as accommodating and allows for challenges only for not being new or for being obvious using prior art.

The problem for CBM review is that it only applies under statute to claims that are directed to a financial service. Many challengers attempt to squeeze in technical inventions into this category by arguing that CBM applies whenever the claims could be used in a financial service environment. Obviously, this argument would sweep everything into CBM because every technology could be used in a financial services environment.

Fortunately, the Courts have limited CBM to only those claims that actually claim a financial service. Unwired Planet and Secured Axcess are two cases of the Federal Circuit that are on point here.

For applicants, it is therefore important to be careful what you claim. Should one claim be determined to be directed to a financial service, all the claims can be swept into a CBM challenge later and easily invalidated using Section 101 for being an abstract idea.

When is a Patent Subject to CBM Review ›› Ruttler Mills PLLC