For years, tech companies have sought to persuade the courts to reject more patents on the grounds that they cover abstract ideas and natural laws. The crusade hasn’t gained as much traction as the crusaders would like, however, in part because some judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit think that the proposals are misguided. But the Federal Circuit is under intense pressure to rethink its approach, and may offer more clarity on its views about patentable subject matter when it issues an en banc ruling this spring in a case called CLS Bank v. Alice Corporation.
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