The law surrounding the patentability of computer-implemented inventions is extraordinarily unclear. Thankfully, the Federal Circuit has granted rehearing en banc to CLS Bank v. Alice to determine the test for computer-implemented inventions under § 101. This Note identifies three current approaches in Federal Circuit doctrine, and finds each lacking. In their place, this Note proposes and defends the data manipulation test, which would hold that a claim is not directed to an abstract idea if it contains a computer element such that: (1) the computer manipulates data, rather than merely being present, (2) the data being manipulated is inherent to the computer, and (3) the data manipulation is directed to one or more particular applications. As this Note argues, the data manipulation test is an easily administrable compromise test that the Federal Circuit, or the Supreme Court upon review, can adopt in CLS Bank.
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