Supreme Court Rules on Alice Corp. — abstract ideas implemented on computer are not patentable

“The claims at issue amount to ‘nothing significantly more’ than an instruction to apply the abstract idea of intermediated settlement using some unspecified, generic computer, [ ] Under our precedents, that is not ‘enough’ to transform an abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention.”

The representative method claim in this case recites the following steps: (1) “creating” shadow records for each counterparty to a transaction; (2) “obtaining” start–of-day balances based on the parties’ real-world accounts at exchange institutions; (3) “adjusting” the shadow records as transactions are entered, allowing only those transactions for which the parties have sufficient resources; and (4) issuing irrevocable end-of-day instructions to the exchange institutions to carry out the permitted transactions. [ ] Petitioner principally contends that the claims are patent eligible because these steps “require a substantial and meaningful role for the computer.” [ ] As stipulated the claimed method requires the use of a computer to create electronic records, track multiple transactions, and issue simultaneous instructions; in other words, “[t]he computer is itself the intermediary.” [ ]

In light of the foregoing, [ ] the relevant question is whether the claims here do more than simply instruct the practitioner to implement the abstract idea of intermediated settlement on a generic computer. They do not.

Justice Thomas delivered the opinion for the unanimous court. Justice Sotomayor filed a concurring opinion in which J. Ginsburg and J. Breyer, joined. Opinion:  2014-06-19 Alice Corp. v. CLS