Last week the Supreme Court granted certiorari in a patent case that will have wide-reaching ramifications across the nation, across industries. The case, Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International, deals with a very basic issue: is computer software patent-eligible under the Patent Act?
Section 101 of the Patent Act allows for the patent eligibility of "any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof." The question then becomes, is computer software a "new and useful process?" Companies like Facebook, JPMorgan and Google think that patent-eligibility for computer software is "too lax," while Microsoft and Oracle think "limiting protection for genuine innovation could hurt the nation's economy," according to Bloomberg.