How Much Did the Federal Circuit Narrow Eligibility for Covered Business Method Review?

The Intellectual Property Strategist

March 2017

In November of last year, the Federal Circuit narrowed the types of patents eligible for covered business method (CBM) review. In Unwired Planet, LLC v. Google Inc., Case No. 15-1812, (Fed. Cir. Nov. 21, 2016), the court found that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) exceeded its authority in permitting CBM review for patents with claims that are “incidental to a financial activity” or “complementary to a financial activity.” The court’s decision narrowed what patents are eligible for CBM review, and provided some guidance for future cases seeking to determine whether a patent falls within the statutory definition of a CBM patent. This decision apparently raises the bar for CBM eligibility but does not resolve the existing split among PTAB panels in deciding the same.

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