“Case Study: Ultramercial v. Hulu”
Has the Federal Circuit swung back the patentability pendulum toward finding that business methods, including software-implemented methods, are patentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101 (“Section 101”)? Perhaps so, given that on Sept. 15, 2011, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued its opinion in Ultramercial LLC v. Hulu LLC, holding that a method for viewing copyrighted content via the Internet in exchange for viewing an advertisement is patent-eligible subject matter. The Federal Circuit indicated that a business method is more likely to be patent-eligible if it (1) provides for a practical application of an idea (as opposed to the idea itself) and (2) is implemented with complex computer programming.