[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments [transcript, PDF] on Monday in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International [SCOTUSblog backgrounder], which raises the issue of whether certain types of computer software are patent eligible under the Patent Act. Appearing on behalf of the government, US Solicitor General Donald Verrilli [official profile] argued that the software in question is too abstract to be patent eligible. Alternatively, the attorney for Alice Corp argued that the software constitutes system and process patents, which are eligible under the Patent Act. However, the questions from the justices at oral argument indicated [Reuters report] that the court is likely to rule that the patents held by Alice Corp on computer software that helps facilitate financial transactions are not patent eligible. Additionally, the court is expected to issue a narrow ruling that does not drastically change existing patent law.
The Supreme Court granted [JURIST report] Alice Corps' petition for certiorari [text, PDF] in December. In May the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit [official website] affirmed [JURIST report] the district court's ruling that the patents were not patent eligible.