CAFC on Bilski – Beauregard claim invalid

Earlier today, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held in CyberSource Corporation v. Retail Decisions, Inc. (PDF), that a Beauregard claim directed to a credit card anti-fraud invention was invalid under s.101 as non-patentable subject-matter.

The method claim was found not to involve a transformation or machine and further was an abstract idea:

Thus, claim 3’s steps can all be performed in the human mind. Such a method that can be performed by human thought alone is merely an abstract idea and is not patent-eligible under § 101. Methods which can be performed entirely in the human mind are unpatentable not because there is anything wrong with claiming mental method steps as part of a process containing non-mental steps,3 but rather because computational methods which can be performed entirely in the human mind are the types of methods that embody the “basic tools of scientific and technological work” that are free to all men and reserved exclusively to none. (emphasis added)

Regarding the Beauregard claim to a computer readable medium that embodied instructions to carry out the method already rejected, the Court rejected the claims as also unpatentable:

Regardless of what statutory category (“process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter,” 35 U.S.C. § 101) a claim’s language is crafted to literally invoke, we look to the underlying invention for patent-eligibility purposes. Here, it is clear that the invention underlying both claims 2 and 3 is a method for detecting credit card fraud, not a manufacture for storing computer-readable information.

Thus, despite its Beauregard claim format, under Abele, we treat claim 2 as a process claim for patent-eligibility purposes.

Thanks to Matt Powell at Sim & McBurney for circulating the decision.