In the post-Alice era, allowances in the 3620s, 3680s, and 3690s e-commerce art units are an increasingly rare sight. The decision has wreaked havoc on the way the courts and patent examiners interpret software and business methods claims, making its application unpredictable and inconsistent. Many commentators allege that the decision is being applied overzealously by many examiners, resulting in almost every application in the e-commerce art units receiving an Alice rejection, which in many cases can be a death warrant.
Since Alice was decided in June of 2014, the percentage of applications receiving § 101 rejections in the e-commerce art units jumped dramatically from about 30% before Alice to over 80% shortly after Alice, with several examiners citing Alice in 100% of their rejections. Despite this arguably harsh application of the decision, business methods patents are still being issued, albeit quite a bit more infrequently than in the past. With careful strategic planning and an expert understanding of the intricacies of the case, skilled patent attorneys are still able to obtain business methods patents for their clients.
These attorneys can be found in all firms and corporations, but several of them stand out particularly. To uncover the top 10 firms that have the highest allowance rates in the e-commerce art units, we limited our search to IP Todays Top Firms for 2015. We then narrowed our search to firms that had at least 10 applications disposed in the 3620s, 3680s, and 3690s since June 19, 2014, the date Alice was decided. Allowance rate was calculated by dividing a firms number of allowed applications by the firms total number of disposed applications within the relevant time period.
Congratulations to the following firms for their exceptional skill in prosecuting business methods applications and for so quickly adapting to the vastly changed legal landscape surrounding them.