Oral Argument of the Week: Retirement Capital Access v. US Bancorp

The oral argument of the week was argued about seven weeks ago and received a Rule 36 decision.  It covers several interesting issues, such as whether the presence of a means plus function limitation should make a claim patent eligible.  The one issue that I thought got lost in the discussion of means plus function claims, however, is the the issue of preemption.  Namely, if a claim includes a means plus function claim and the means is limited to the structure disclosed in the specification, how could such a claim possibly preempt all the other means of performing that function?  Therefore, how could the claim as a whole preempt the purported abstract idea?

The oral argument also addressed whether evidence should be required to prove that something was an abstract idea.

And, Judge Lourie endeared himself to patent prosecutors everywhere by inquiring whether all business methods should be deemed patent ineligible:  [Listen].

You can listen to the entire oral argument [here].

You can read the Rule 36 decision [here].

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