In a welcome move, the full Federal Circuit has agreed to revisit a troubling ruling in a case called CLS Bank v. Alice Corp. This case, along with the Ultramercial case, presents an important opportunity for the courts to insert some long-overdue sanity into the debate over what can and cannot be patented. In light of the Supreme Court's ruling earlier this year in Mayo, we think the Federal Circuit has little choice but to throw out the dangerous patents in both CLS Bank and Ultramercial and make clear once and for all that ideas that are otherwise abstract cannot be patented simply because they are executed on the Internet or in a computer system.
So what's going on here? First, you have to understand a little bit about § 101 of the Patent Act. Some background: that section precludes patent protection for laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas. This is fundamental to the patent bargain. Without this limitation, parties could obtain harmful monopolies on simple ideas, e.g., ways of running a business or cooking a meal, and be able to (in theory at least) prohibit people from implementing those same ideas.
(via the EFF on G+ - https://plus.google....posts/JaiMXdsGnS9 )