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Cybersource v. Retail ruling by US CAFC on 16 Aug 2011

CyberSource Corp. v. Retail Decisions, Inc., No. 2009-1358 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 16, 2011)

The case was heard by a three judge panel. Timothy B. Dyk wrote the opinion, Sharon Prost and William Curtis Bryson joined Dyk.


To use this ruling, we have to argue that they got it part right and part wrong.

Good: The panel declared the contested patent claims invalid because they say (p21) "one could mentally perform the fraud detection method that underlies both claims 2 and 3 of the ’154 patent, as the method consists of only the general approach of obtaining information about credit card transactions utilizing an Internet address and then using that information in some undefined manner to determine if the credit card transaction is valid."

Bad: They preface this by citing two cases where a software patent was upheld because the claims "required the manipulation of computer data structures"

Math can be patentable

See also: Software is math

Noteworthy in this decision is that the judge said that math can be patentable if

as a practical matter, the use of a computer is required to perform the claimed method.

He goes on to justify this with reference to previous decisions

For example, in SiRF Tech., we found that claims to a “method for calculating an absolute position of a GPS receiver and an absolute time of reception of satellite signals” recited patent-eligible subject matter. 601 F.3d at 1331. The court noted that we were “not dealing with . . . a method that [could] be performed without a machine” and that there was “no evidence . . . that the calculations [could] be performed entirely in the human mind.” Id. at 1333. To the contrary, we found it was “clear that the methods at issue could not be performed without the use of a GPS receiver.” Id. at 1332.

Does it invalidate software on a storage medium patents?

A lawyer, Andrew Oliver, commented that, until this decision, patent holders:

[...] could assert patents that cover computer readable media with instructions against software developers and companies that distribute software via physical media such as compact discs, servers, and other storage media. Now, many of those patents may be invalid [...][1]

Can you help? Can someone check the decision for the details?

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