Washington D.C.—EFF Staff Attorney Alex Moss will tell U.S. lawmakers today that proposed changes to Section 101 of the U.S. Patent Act—the section that defines, and limits, what can get a patent—will upend years of case law that ensures only true inventions, not basic practices or rudimentary ideas, should get a patent. Moss is among a panel of patent experts testifying today before the Senate Subcommittee on Intellectual Property about the state of patent eligibility in America.

The Supreme Court ruled in Alice v. CLS Bank that an abstract idea does not become eligible for a patent simply by being implemented on a generic computer. For example, a patent on the basic practice of letting people access content in exchange for watching an online ad was upheld in court before Alice. EFF’s “Saved by Alice” project has collected stories about small businesses that were helped, or even saved, by the Supreme Court’s Alice decision.

A proposal by Senators Thom Tillis and Chris Coons, chairman and ranking member of the subcommittee, would rewrite Section 101 of the Patent Act. The proposal is aimed squarely at killing the Alice decision. It will primarily benefit companies that aggressively license and litigate patents, as well as patent trolls—entities that produce no products, but make money by threatening developers and companies, often with vague software patents.

Section 101, as it stands, prevents monopolies on basic research tools that nobody could have invented. That protects developers, start-ups, and makers of all kinds, especially in software-based fields, Moss will tell senators.

WHAT:
Hearing before Senate Subcommittee on Intellectual Property: The State of Patent Eligibility in America, Part I

WHO:
EFF Staff Attorney Alex Moss

WHEN:
Today at 2:30 pm

WHERE:
Dirksen Senate Office Building 226
50 Constitution Ave NE
Washington D.C. 20002

For more on Alice v. CLS Bank:
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/06/bad-day-bad-patents-supreme-court-unanimously-strikes-down-abstract-software
https://www.eff.org/alice

Contact: