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U.S. Supreme Court

SCOTUS to review standard for software patents

Posted Dec 9, 2013 10:01 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Friday to consider the standard for software patents.

The court will review a fractured en banc decision by U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that did not produce agreement on the test to determine patent eligibility, report The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times, SCOTUSblog and the Wall Street Journal Law Blog (sub. req.). The en banc court issued six separate opinions, “none of which reflected an approach endorsed by a majority,” according to the cert petition (PDF).

At issue: When is software ineligible for a patent because it’s based on an abstract idea?

The case concerns the validity of a patent for a computer program that helps foreign-exchange buyers and sellers settle their trades, according to the Wall Street Journal Law Blog. CLS Bank International claims the idea that spurred the software software is too abstract to patent.

The case is Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International.


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