Feeds

US Supreme Court to preside over software patents case

Decision could help shift legal handling in code disputes

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear a patent case which some hope will have a profound effect on the software industry.

The top US court on Friday said that it would review a lower court ruling in the case of Alice vs CLS Bank. The decision, say advocates, could have implications throughout the software industry.

At issue in the case is the ability and extent to which software can be patented under US law. Software developer Alice Corporation claims to have patents regarding financial transaction tools which were challenged by CLS as not being eligible for protections under US patent regulations.

After a US District court issued a mixed verdict, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the matter in an upcoming session.

According to patent reform advocates, the case represents a hope that the Supreme Court will help to crack down on what have been called "abstract" software patents which cover vague areas and wide swaths of operations.

"We're glad that patent reform has momentum and that policymakers are targeting patent trolls," said Julie Samuels, EFF staff attorney and holder of The Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents (seriously). "But the root of that problem, which has largely been missing from the public debate, is patent quality, specifically of software-related inventions

"There can be no doubt: we have a problem with low-quality, abstract software patents in this country," Samuels said.

Fueled by pressure from online rights groups and technology industry lobbyist organizations, the US government has in recent months turned much of its attention to the issue of examining and reshaping intellectual property laws and patent regulations in order to cut down on frivolous and vague infringement claims by patent troll organizations.

Earlier this week, the US House passed a landmark bill which seeks to place new, stricter controls on companies looking to file patent infringement claims. Dubbed the Innovation Act, the bill is a rare legal effort that is being hailed by both industry and user advocacy groups alike. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.