Decided: CLS Bank vs. Alice Corporation – US Supreme Court Ruling

The United States Supreme Court today unanimously agreed with CLS Bank that the abstract idea of intermediated settlement is not patent-eligible under Section 101 of the Patent Act. The verdict is a victory for CLS.

This decision caps extended litigation in which all three levels of the federal court system – the district court, the court of appeals, and now the Supreme Court – have confirmed the correctness of CLS Bank’s position.

David Puth CEO of CLS Bank stated: “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 counter-parties 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.”

Instant Reaction

Alan Marquard, Chief Legal Officer, CLS Bank: “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.”

Mark Perry, lead counsel for CLS Bank: “The Supreme Court correctly rejected the attempt of Alice Corporation, a non-practicing entity or “troll,” to foreclose productive companies like banks from practicing the ancient economic method of intermediated settlement.  As the Court explained, patent law does not allow someone to monopolize a fundamental abstract idea, and implementing the idea on any generic computer does not change this result.  We are delighted with the result.”

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