Washington – The Supreme Court issued its ruling today in a key case examining the patent eligibility of software. In a unanimous ruling the court offered some guidance on what an abstract idea is and said that implementing an abstract idea on a generic computer is not an invention eligible for a patent.
The Alice v. CLS Bank ruling could have far reaching implications for a variety of industries as well as the growing business of patent lawsuits, many stemming from patents on software. The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) had filed an amicus brief in the case asking the court to develop a new test for the patent eligibility of software. The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:
“The court has found that taking an idea and implementing it on a computer does not deserve a patent. This is a sound decision ensuring our patent laws are better aligned with the original intent of our founders. We need to keep in mind that when the Government grants a patent they are authorizing the patent recipient to exercise monopoly power.
“The Justices interpreted the law in a way that will cut back on some flimsy patents without impacting more deserving ones. Better quality patents will help curb the patent troll problem. The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office will now need to issue new guidelines on software patents, and we look forward to reviewing them. Major further reform of the patent system remains a high priority because until fixed, it will too often be an obstacle to innovation rather than a tool for advancing it.”
The following can be attributed to CCIA patent counsel Matt Levy:
“This is an important tool in the fight against patent trolls, but it is not going to solve the problem. The Justices applied their unanimous decision in Mayo to software, as we had hoped they would. Software patents commonly use very generic terms in order to cover any possible computer implementation, and the Federal Circuit was greatly expanding what could be patented. The Court has put the brakes on that expansion and brought some common sense back to the world of software.”