Alice litigation: CLS triumphs at US Supreme Court

19 June 2014

In the case of Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International, the U.S. Supreme Court today issued its opinion, unanimously finding all four of Alice’s patents invalid. The Court accepted CLS’s view that Alice’s patents impermissibly attempted to patent the abstract idea of financial intermediation.

In issuing its opinion, the Supreme Court’s Justice Thomas wrote: “We hold that the claims at issue are drawn to the abstract idea of intermediated settlement, and that merely requiring generic computer implementation fails to transform that abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention.”

The ruling comes after seven years of litigation between CLS and Alice.

David Puth, Chief Executive Officer, CLS said: “Throughout this case we have sought to highlight why the claims against CLS directly threatened an entity that is vital to the functioning of the largest and most liquid market in the world, foreign exchange. CLS ensures trillions of dollars reach their intended counterparties every day with certainty and security and has set the standard for international communication and cooperation. CLS can now continue its mission to enhance financial stability by providing risk mitigation services to the global foreign exchange market.”

Alan Marquard, Chief Legal Officer, CLS said: “In our view, the Supreme Court correctly decided this case, and we are very pleased with the decision. Alice’s attempt to patent the abstract idea of financial intermediation was rightfully rejected by the Supreme Court. Financial intermediation is critical to the safe and effective operation of all global markets, and we are proud to have led the fight against a very real risk to the economy and the financial ecosystem.”

This finding effectively ends the Alice litigation in the United States as CLS cannot be found to infringe patents that are ineligible.

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