SUMMARY The American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) is a leading national bar association including diverse members directly or indirectly involved in the practice of intellectual property law. The membership of the AIPLA is concerned with the interests of both owners and users of intellectual property. On behalf of its membership, the AIPLA files amicus briefs in important cases relevant to its members, lobbies Congress for changes to the intellectual property laws, and interacts with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to further the interests of its members. In important matters of intellectual property law, the AIPLA is a leading voice for its membership.
The Electronic and Computer Law Committee (ECLC) of the AIPLA has the mission of considering electronic, computer, and software technology and the laws, administrative practices, and judicial decisions, both foreign and domestic, with respect to securing, promoting, and enforcing the various intellectual property rights in such technology and to cooperate with the AIPLA Board of Directors with recommendations as requested in such matters. The members of the ECLC are very concerned about the direction the Supreme Court has taken the law relating to patentable subject matter in Bilski v. Kappos, 130 S.Ct. 3218 (2010) (“Bilski”) and more recently and more profoundly in Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International, et al., 573 U.S. __ (2014) (“Alice”).The members of the ECLC are further concerned with the USPTO’s response to these decisions.
The ECLC has prepared this document to start a dialog imploring the leadership of the AIPLA to take prompt action to address what we believe to be a serious threat to the U.S. patent system for stakeholders in our purview, namely, innovators in the fields of electronic, computer, and software technologies. This document is our initial “call to action” to the AIPLA to not sit idly by while the Supreme Court and USPTO significantly weaken patent rights for a significant set of stakeholders in the U.S. patent system. In our call to action, we ask the AIPLA to take a leadership role to encourage changes in the law to provide the appropriate degree of patent protection for this important group of stakeholders. The ECLC stands by, ready and willing, to help in this endeavor.
In the following pages, several members of the ECLC have contributed their thoughts in support of our call to action. We encourage the leadership of the AIPLA to read the following text so that you understand precisely why we, members of the ECLC, are concerned about the direction of the law of patentable subject matter and some of our thoughts about addressing these issues.