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Showing posts with label business methods. Show all posts
Showing posts with label business methods. Show all posts

Patentable Subject Matter in Australia

The Federal Court of Australia has sided with the Patents Office and upheld a rejection of a patent application for an invention that improves the timeliness and accuracy of risk information.  It was decided by the judge that the claimed invention was merely a business method or scheme for sharing and completing work place health and safety documents, and was thus unpatentable.

See Repipe Pty Ltd v Commissioner of Patents (No 3) [2021] FCA 31  https://jade.io/article/783336

Patentable Subject Matter

Rokt is fighting in Federal Court to have a patent application allowed.  The Commissioner of Patents is opposing the grant of the patent:  An invention that simply puts "a business method or scheme into a computer" is not patentable, the Commissioner of Patents told a court on the first day of a highly anticipated trial over a rejected software patent application by marketing tech startup Rokt.

The judge hearing the case is Justice Robertson.  The oral argument went for 3 days, and finished on 20 July 2018.  The judge is now writing a written decision.

See Australian Financial Review background story, and summary of Patent Office decision being appealed is here.

See blog post here.

Business Method Patents In Australia

After a long delay, the Australian Federal Court (Appeals Division) has finally decided the case of Commissioner of Patents v RPL Central Pty Ltd [2015] FCAFC 177.  This is an appeal from an appeal from a decision by the Commissioner of Patents not to grant a patent to a method and system for computerised collection of information relevant to assessment of a person’s competency for a recognised qualification standard.

The case considered whether this invention was patentable subject matter in Australia.

The Court decided that this invention was not patentable subject matter in Australian.

"A claimed invention must be examined to ascertain whether it is in substance a scheme or plan or whether it can broadly be described as an improvement in computer technology. The basis for the analysis starts with the fact that a business method, or mere scheme, is not, per se, patentable. The fact that it is a scheme or business method does not exclude it from properly being the subject of letters patent, but it must be more than that. There must be more than an abstract idea; it must involve the creation of an artificial state of affairs where the computer is integral to the invention, rather than a mere tool in which the invention is performed. Where the claimed invention is to a computerised business method, the invention must lie in that computerisation. It is not a patentable invention simply to “put” a business method “into” a computer to implement the business method using the computer for its well- known and understood functions.

Is the mere implementation of an abstract idea in a well-known machine sufficient to render patentable subject matter? Is the artificial effect that arises, because information is stored in RAM and there is communication over the Internet or wifi, sufficient? Does any physical effect give rise to a manner of manufacture? Are the mere presence of an artificial effect and economic utility, without more, sufficient to determine manner of manufacture?

... it is apparent that, other than the integers providing that the computer processes the criteria to generate corresponding questions and presents those questions to the user, the method does not include any steps that are outside the normal use of a computer. It is not suggested that the creation of the plurality of assessable criteria themselves form the basis of the claimed invention. They are present on the NTIS website from which they are retrieved. It is not suggested that the presentation of the questions or the processing of the user’s responses involve ingenuity themselves or that this constitutes the requisite manner of manufacture. 

We conclude that the claimed invention is to a scheme or a business method that is not properly the subject of letters patent."

See also IP Whiteboard

History of Software Patents in the United States

A good article from the National Law Reviewing regarding the history of software patents in the U.S.

See History

Computer Implemented Method Patentable in Australia

RPL Central Pty Ltd v Commissioner of Patents [2013] FCA 871

Broadly, the claimed invention related to the assessment of the competency or qualifications of individuals with respect to recognised standards. It was implemented using a computer.

Claim 1 included the following steps:

(a)    a computer retrieving via the internet from a remotely-located server a plurality of assessable criteria associated with the recognised qualification standard, said criteria including one or more elements of competency, each of which is associated with one or more performance criteria;
(b)    the computer processing the plurality of assessable criteria to generate automatically a corresponding plurality of questions relating to the competency of an individual to satisfy each of the elements of competency and performance criteria associated with the recognised qualification standard;
(c)    an assessment server presenting the automatically-generated questions via the internet to a computer of an individual requiring assessment; and
(d)    receiving from the individual via their computer a series of responses to the automatically-generated questions, the responses including evidence of the individual’s skills, knowledge and experience in relation to each of the elements of competency and performance criteria, wherein at least one said response includes the individual specifying one or more files on their computer which are transferred to the assessment server.

The Federal Court of Australia today determined that this claim recited patentable subject matter.

U.S. Patent Decision - The Alice Case

CLS Services v. Alice Corporation was decided yesterday by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, en banc.  See Judgment.  Alice Corporation is an Australian company.  Its U.S. patent was held to be invalid as it did not claim patentable subject matter.

"Upon consideration en banc, a majority of the court affirms the district court’s holding that the asserted method and computer-readable media claims are not directed to eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101."

There were a number of judgments.  The footnote to one judgment states:

"No portion of any opinion issued today other than our Per Curiam Judgment garners a majority. The court is evenly split on the patent eligibility of the system claims. Although a majority of the judges on the court agree that the method claims do not recite patent eligible subject matter, no majority of those judges agrees as to the legal rationale for that conclusion. Accordingly, though much is published today discussing the proper approach to the patent eligibility inquiry, nothing said today beyond our judgment has the weight of precedent."

Australian Federal Court Limits Patentability

A recent Australian Federal Court decision limits the scope of patent protection for business methods implemented by computer.  The invention in question related to securities investing and, more specifically, to construction and use of passive portfolios and indexes.

The court denied patentability, stating:

"The implementation of the method of the claimed invention by means of a computer, at the level articulated in claim 1, is no more than the modern equivalent of writing down the index on pieces of paper. On the face of the Specification, there is no patentable invention in the fact that the claimed method is implemented by means of a computer. The Specification asserts a patentable invention, not in the use of the computer, but in the particular series of steps that give rise to the generation of the index. Those steps could readily have been carried out manually. The aspect of computer implementation is nothing more than the use of a computer for a purpose for which it is suitable. That does not confer patentability.

The enquiry into what constitutes a patentable invention is still evolving. It is not to be tied to particular notions of what was understood to be a manufacture at any particular point in time. However, while new developments in technology might be seen to widen the notion of what is patentable, the modern availability of computers as a standard means of implementing arithmetic or computational processes, which could have been implemented manually in the past, does not carry with it any broadening of the concept of a patentable invention."

See Research Affiliates LLC v Commissioner of Patents [2013] FCA 71

Business Method Patents

For tonights class, in addition to the reading listed below, the following recent Australian Patent Office decisions are relevant:

U.S. Patent Case

The recent U.S. case of CLS Bank v. Alice addresses patent eligibility requirements  for computer-implemented business and financial methods.  

Alice is an Australian company that owns four United States patents; it asserts that CLS infringes these four patents. CLS is an “Edge Act Corporation,” organized under Section 25A of the Federal Reserve Act, as amended, 12 U.S.C. § 611, and authorized by statute to engage in international banking activities.

Summary provided by the U.S. law firm that represented the successful party: On March 9, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed all claims of patent infringement brought under four patents directed to computer-implemented methods, systems, and products for exchanging a financial obligation, because each of the patent claims was directed to an “abstract idea” and was invalid because it was directed to non-patentable subject matter. The decision is significant because, among other things, it addressed numerous questions left unanswered by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year in Bilski v. Kappos, 130 S. Ct. 3218 (2010). This Client Alert reviews the decision and the significance the decision may have on the scope of the abstract idea exception that had not been addressed either by the Federal Circuit or by the Supreme Court in their respective Bilski decisions.  

U.S. Patent Office Guidelines for patentable subject matter

See article at this U.S. law firm website.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) published Interim Guidance on 27 July 2010, for evaluating method claims for subject-matter eligibility under § 101 of the Patent Act. This guidance follows the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Bilski v. Kappos.

Business Method Patents

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/02/business/02bizcourt.html?_r=2&hpw

"WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to decide what sorts of business methods might be patented, an issue with the potential to reshape significant parts of the economy. “This is the most important patent case in 50 years, in particular because there is so much damage and so much good the court could do,” said John F. Duffy, a law professor at George Washington University who submitted a brief in the appeals court in support of neither side."

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