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U.S. to Join Supreme Court Showdown on Patent Eligibility

March 25, 2014

Fenwick & West patent partner Robert Sachs is quoted in The American Lawyer article “U.S. to Join Supreme Court Showdown on Patent Eligibility.”

On Monday, March 31, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. V. CLS Bank International – a highly anticipated patent case. In this matter, the Court is considering whether software is eligible for patent protection. The issue has generated significant attention, as evidenced by the filing of over 50 amicus briefs.

The Solicitor General of the United States will participate in oral arguments and is expected to advocate for restrictions on certain kinds of software patents, particularly business method patents

Fenwick partner Robert Sachs said the government's position is misguided. "The government has responded to the political atmosphere by becoming hostile to patents—especially to business method and software patents."

The article paraphrased Sachs as saying,"The solicitor general's stance is motivated by the administration's effort to cut back on the number and types of patents being issued and to curb patent litigation. But it is short sighted."

"Patent eligibility is meant to be broad because we don't know what the future will bring," he said. "Closing the door to the PTO and curtailing inventions we don't even know about is a dangerous thing to do."