Federal Circuit Rejects PTAB’s CBM Patent Definition as Overly Broad

November 23, 2016

The Federal Circuit has rejected the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB’s) standard for what constitutes a “covered business method” (CBM) patent as overly broad (2015-1812). In an opinion issued on November 21, the court ruled that the PTAB had exceeded its authority by implementing a definition of a CBM patent that exceeds the statutory requirements established by the America Invents Act (AIA). By allowing CBM review of patents with subject matter “incidental to” or “complementary to” a financial activity, the court held, the Board has “render[ed] superfluous the limits” set by Congress. The Federal Circuit’s opinion stemmed from Unwired Planet LLC’s appeal of a final decision in a CBM review filed by Google (CBM2014-00006) against a location services patent (7,203,752).

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