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CLS Bank v. Alice Part Two

Jim Ruttler, Patent Attorney

Posted Thursday, July 31, 2014 by Jim Ruttler

Last I wrote about CLS Bank v. Alice it seemed that the rule was fairly clear – abstract ideas were not patentable on their own and that abstract ideas were things like laws of nature, mathematical formulas, natural phenomenon, and economical activities. The PTO seemed to agree, because their initial guidance to examiners indicated that not much had changed with the Alice opinion and it was pretty much business as usual. Well, in an abrupt about face, the Patent Office has started issuing supplemental office actions and withdrawing cases from issuance in software related technologies on the basis of Alice. The rejections indicate that the PTO is now viewing anything that involves organizing human behavior as an abstract idea and, based on the initial rejections, the PTO appears to be viewing this test with almost no limits.

The PTO had a public comment period for the Alice holding that ended today. So, it will be interesting in the next couple of weeks to see how the PTO refines its approach if at all.

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