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Alice Kills Machines and Transformations

In the aftermath of Alice v. CLS Bank the patent law has become an uncertain battleground.  Much like actor Shia LaBeouf’s character who attacks and kills the machines in the Transformer movies, the Supreme Court killed the machine or transformation (MOT) test in Alice by attempting to lay out a proper analysis for determining patentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. §101.  The Alice opinion fails to provide a new test in place of the MOT test for determining patentable subject matter.  Rather to succeed at the onerous task of determining the types of inventions that are now patent eligible, patent practitioners must set aside machines and transformations and become omniscient Transformers themselves—the likes of Optimus Prime with a protractor!
This article examines the Alice decision and the many questions left in its wake for patent practitioners looking to determine what now constitutes patent eligible subject matter.

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