Supreme Court Ruling On Software Patents Changes (Part Of) The Game

on Thursday, Jun. 19th

The Supreme Court of the United States made life a bit harder on patent trolls today with a ruling that yanked patents from a company that simply added a computer into the mix of some basic financial concepts. As Ars Technica points out, this ruling wasn’t entirely what the software patent reform movement was looking for.

Some advocates were hoping the case would go so far as to eliminate software patents altogether. If that were to happen, this would have likely been the case to do it. But the court didn’t go that far, instead suggesting that software patents could still be allowed when they “improve the functioning of the computer itself” or “improve an existing technological process.”

The critical part of the ruling puts the legal standard for a software patent on the issue of whether or not the patent is in the abstract. Unfortunately the court has left the definition of abstract a bit, um, abstract. Gotta have that wiggle room, after all. The battle over software patents is far from over, but it looks like the goal posts have moved.

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