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Stanford law professor Mark Lemley discusses Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International

Credit to Stanford University. The original video can be found here:

Stanford University

The Supreme Court this past term had 10 intellectual property cases which is more than they've had in over a century.

Intellectual property is patents, copyrights, trademarks all things that are designed to give people protection for their ideas or the things they create.

The problem we've got in intellectual property right now is that there's just too much of it. We've seen an explosion in the number of lawsuits filed in patent cases. people worry that a system that is designed to encourage innovation might actually be discouraging it instead.

Alice Corp vs CLS Bank International Docket: 13-298

Probably the most significant of the Supreme Court's cases in 2014 in intellectual property was the Alice vs CLS Bank case. And in Alice the question was: What sorts of things are not eligible for patent protection at all?

And while the court has refused to say that software or business methods can't be patentable at all, they've imposed in Alice a very restrictive test that most business method and software patents out there in the world today probably don't meet.

Supreme Court: An abstract idea cannot be patented just because it is implemented on a computer.

What the court in Alice said was that an abstract idea-the way in which you solve some problem with software is unpatentable unless it's coupled with an inventive concept: some particular new means of implementing that abstract idea.

One of the things we've seen is a wave of decisions by the lower courts that have mostly invalidated a couple of dozen of these patents. And I think there are probably hundreds more such cases coming up in the next year or so.

Patent lawsuits after Alice: Down 33%

The other thing we've seen is a significant drop in the number of patent lawsuits filed since Alice. It's down 33 percent. And I think what we're seeing is a reaction to the court's conclusion that there are too many software and business method patents and they've claimed too broadly.

I think what you what you want is not a pendulum that swings back and forth past the optimum that happens to hit it occasionally in the middle. Right? What you'd like to do is dampen those swings you'd like a system that's closer to balance. Right? That's not wildly overprotective but not wildly under protective either.

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Video credit: Stanford University. Original YouTube Link

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