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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

Hi everyone, I’m J.D. Houvener, and welcome to the Bold Today Show. We review the inventor and entrepreneur, getting your daily dose of inspiration to make the world a better place. Okay, we’re in our last session about blockchain and cryptocurrency. Today, I have a good challenge for you that’s gonna be good for the weekend, right? It’s Friday, don’t you want to work hard today, hustle a bit on Saturday morning or Sunday morning if you got some time to yourself? I’m going to brainstorm, put down ten, just whatever comes to mind—information, data that your company uses and interchanges with a third party. How might that data be verified on the blockchain? That’s a great way to think about how that’s going to impact the core of technology, how it’s going to be implemented into your daily business. So, maybe you buy products overseas, maybe you send money periodically to a financial institution, even paying employees—we do that using a third-party payroll. Think about how that information could be better protected and could be done more efficiently on the blockchain.

Okay, today we’re going to focus on one of the most famous cases in all of software, and this is CLS Bank versus Alice. It’s not necessarily this case but one of the cases that preceded it after it. I want to give you a little bit of background. So, in this case, often called the Alice case in 2014, the Supreme Court said that software patents that merely do things that have already been done in real life and put them on the computer are not patent eligible. Just simply putting a non-obvious implementation in real life into the technical cloud of the internet or using a computer is not sufficient to make it novel and functional. It is no longer eligible under the law. They also mentioned the fact that abstract ideas, things that can purely be done in the ether without any evidence in the tangible world, are also drawn to abstract and may not be eligible for patenting.

For a little while, a little over a year, many patents that have already been issued were struck down and invalidated under the same premises. There was a big case, it’s called DDR Holdings. In this case, the patent we got, we’re going to show up here will abbreviate, is the 339 patent made a claim for advertising, and you may be familiar with this as you browse on the internet. But when you make a click onto a web site and you make a click to go to an ad, instead of going directly to that ad’s homepage, there’s actually an intermediate window that pops up and allows you to basically make sense of an order, whether you want to proceed to that third-party page or go back to that original page you are on. In fact, you know, it could be that you accidentally clicked it. So, that step, right, that intermediary window that pops up is what this patent was for. Purely a business method and certainly a computer-implemented invention, that’s what the claims surrounded. There were a couple of their dependent claims that get more specific, but that’s kind of the high level.

This patent was not rejected; it was upheld by the Federal Circuit. It was the first of its kind to go through all the analysis that the Alice principles went through and determined that there was enough functionality, enough deviation from standard ways of doing business that were on the computer. This is a very fascinating big case again. The DDR Holdings case can be researched, and we got the formal citing and referencing there for you to go pull up the case if you want to read that in more detail.

So, I hope you all enjoyed this session on cryptocurrency and computer software. We’re going to be hitting this again and again because it is one of the most innovative areas of patent law. One area I wanted to talk about with cryptocurrency is, if your applications are proceeding through, one way to avoid getting an Alice rejection is to put things into the claim that do more than just standard computer terms. You’ll want to mention security features like hashing. You want to put in specific details about the decryption, and you want to put things, instead of a financial transaction, you want to put in the distributed ledger technology. Use words like that as opposed to just financial transactions. It’s going to help you get the application move forward quicker.

It’s been a pleasure talking with you. I’m your host J.D. Houvener of the Bold Today Show. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Go big, go bold.

[Music] At boldip.com.

About the Author
J.D. Houvener is a Registered USPTO Patent Attorney who has a strong interest in helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. J.D. leverages his technical background in engineering and experience in the aerospace industry to provide businesses with a unique perspective on their patent needs. He works with clients who are serious about investing in their intellectual assets and provides counsel on how to capitalize their patents in the market. If you have any questions regarding this article or patents in general, consider contacting J.D. at https://boldip.com/contact/