UIC Review of Intellectual Property Law


Robert Laverty


As of 2016, the United States software industry added $1.07 trillion in total value to the U.S. economy alone. Today, it’s no mystery that high-tech solutions are embedded in the fabric of our world. Venture Capital has been the dominant source of funding for startup and midsize high-tech firms for the last two decades. However, Venture Capital funding comes at a hefty cost. Young developing high-tech firms are often forced to bargain large shares of their ownership and managerial control to receive the funding they need to realize their potential. But, what if high-tech firms didn’t have to make such a sacrifice? What if these firms could keep their ownership and receive the financing they need? A potential solution lies in their most valuable assets—business method patents. Business method patentability, as it pertains to software and high-tech patents, has been restrained by a high degree of uncertainty surrounding claim validity. In 2014, the United States Supreme Court finally set forth the legal framework to determine whether a software patent is valid under the U.S. patent laws in the case of Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int’l. This case was the final piece needed to develop reliance on the validity of business method patents. This comment argues that the uncertainty surrounding business method patents’ legality has settled and in turn unique opportunities are available to business method patent holders who seek alternative financing solutions.