"Patentability of Business Methods: Decoding the Federal Circuit’s CLS and Bancorp Decisions"

Recently, the Federal Circuit ruled on two business method patent cases – CLS Bank International v. Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. ("CLS") and Bancorp Services, LLC v. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (U.S.) ("Bancorp"). Despite a claim of congruity by the court (both cases centered around the issue of how to determine whether a claim is directed to a patent ineligible abstract idea under 35 U.S.C. §101) the two rulings produced seemingly incongruous results. Subsequently, the Federal Circuit granted a petition by CLS for rehearing en banc ("CLS en banc order") and vacated the court's opinion in CLS, ostensibly so it can finally resolve the incongruous results of CLS and Bancorp.

This article looks at the CLS and Bancorp decisions, their potential impact on the patentability of business methods, and the questions the Federal Circuit intends to resolve during the upcoming rehearing en banc as outlined in the CLS en banc order.

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