This ruling has removed a lot of restraints from innovators and the industry giants.
There have been no less than 11 federal judicial rulings striking down patents as “abstract” since the US Supreme Court’s June 26 decision in Alice v. CLS Bank.
It’s a high number. The case was recognized as a big decision by commentators when it came, and what’s happened since suggests the ramifications may be broader than first thought. Vox Media’s Tim Lee (former Ars contributor) has an article rounding up the 11 rulings.
The list only highlights patents that have lost under Section 101 of the US patent law, which governs when a patent is an “abstract idea” that can’t be patented. Section 101 wins are important to repeat defendants, because they’re wins without going through discovery and hiring costly experts. However, some members of the patent bar see Section 101 as an overly blunt tool for weeding out bad patents from true innovations. Many of the patents being knocked out under 101 are “do it on a computer” patents that take everyday activity and add a lot of computer jargon.
“The courts are sending a pretty clear message: you can’t take a commonplace human activity, do it with a computer, and call that a patentable invention,” writes Lee.