Bancorp Services v. Sun Life: Latest Federal Circuit Case Finding Financial Services Patents Invalid Under 35 U.S.C. 101

Fitzpatrick Case Update
July 26, 2012

On July 26, 2012, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Lourie, Prost and Wallach) held that 35 U.S.C. § 101 precludes one from obtaining a patent on a computer-implemented abstract process where the computer does not play a “significant part” in the performance of the claimed invention; that is, where the computer “simply performs more efficiently what could otherwise be accomplished manually.” This ruling affirmed the district court’s decision on summary judgment that had invalidated two patents owned by Bancorp Services, L.L.C. (“Bancorp”).

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