Recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“the Federal Circuit”) issued its opinion in Solutran, Inc. v. Elavon, Inc., 2019-1345, 2019-1460 (Fed. Cir., July 30, 2019) in which the Court held claims 1-5 of Solutran’s U.S. Patent No. 8,311,945 invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101 for failing to recite patent eligible subject matter. In reversing the District Court, the Federal Circuit found that the claims of the patent recited an abstract idea (electronically processing paper checks) and that the claims failed to transform that abstract idea into patent-eligible subject matter. More importantly, the Federal Circuit dismissed Solutran’s argument that the claims were patent eligible simply because they were novel and non-obvious, noting that: “We have previously explained that merely reciting an abstract idea by itself in a claim—even if the idea is novel and non-obvious—is not enough to save it from ineligibility.” The Solutran decision is not the first time the Federal Circuit has held that novelty/non-obviousness does not bear on the question of patent eligibility.
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