Case note by Peter Heerey AM, QC, Tom Cordiner & Alan Nash – Australian entities that pay royalties to foreign-based licensors are required to withhold and remit to the Australian Tax Office a portion of that royalty, except to the extent an international tax agreement between Australia and the relevant country provides otherwise.
Last week, 31 March, the US Supreme Court heard oral argument on the question whether Alice Corporation can patent its software system for a method of payment: Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International, Supreme Court Docket No 13-298 (2014). Several patents and claims are in issue, all relating to a computerized trading platform used for conducting financial transactions in which a third party settles obligations between a first and a second party so as to eliminate “counterparty” or “settlement” risk. The issue is whether what Alice Corporation is claiming is even patent-eligible subject matter (let alone knew or inventive). In Australia, the corresponding question is whether what is claimed is “a manner of manufacture”.