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Federal Circuit To Consider, Again, Whether Computer-Implemented Inventions Are Patentable

Publication Date: 
January 07, 2013
Source: 
Daily Journal
Author: 
Rachel Swan

Professor Mark Lemley spoke with the Daily Journal's Rachel Swan about how the outcome of the software patent case CLS v. Alice may impact a "number of software patents."

Silicon Valley technology giants have ramped up the pressure on a Washington, D.C.-based federal appeals court as it considers whether computer-implemented inventions are patentable.

In the two months since the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit agreed to hear a high-profile software patent case en banc, Google Inc., Twitter Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., Facebook Inc., Zynga Inc. and their counterparts have filed a flurry of amicus briefs on the plaintiff's behalf. CLS Bank International v. Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd., 2011-1301.

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Mark A. Lemley, a Stanford Law School professor who is also a partner at Durie Tangri LLP in San Francisco, said the results of CLS v. Alice could affect a number of pending software patent suits, including Accenture Global Services Gmbh et al v. Guidewire Software Inc. 800 F. Supp. 2d613 (D. Del., 2011), which he argued before the Federal Circuit in August on the defendant's behalf.

"It could wipe out a large number of software patents, depending on the outcome," Lemley said.

He added that if the Federal Circuit judges ultimately rule in favor of the patentee, there is a good chance the Supreme Court will agree to consider the case.