Feeds

US Supremes UPHOLD troll-busting Alice v CLS Bank decision

Court unanimously approves abstract patent smackdown

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The US Supreme Court has once again unanimously decided against a dubious patent-infringement claim, and won the praise of patent-reform advocates.

The court on Thursday upheld a Federal Circuit Court decision to strike down infringement claims by Alice Corp. in its case against CLS Bank. The ruling denies claims on patents related to financial transactions and escrow.

In the decision (PDF), the nine Supreme Court Justices all agreed that the claims made by Alice in its patents were too ambiguous to enforce and therefore invalid. The court noted earlier decisions which held that "abstract ideas" were not patentable, and that simply using a computer to perform a known algorithm does not make the abstract idea patentable.

"Simply appending conventional steps, specified at a high level of generality, to a method already 'well known in the art' is not 'enough' to supply the 'inventive concept' needed to make this transformation," the court said in its opinion.

"The introduction of a computer into the claims does not alter the analysis."

The case has been seen as an important precedent, as it could reduce the reach of "patent troll" companies to make broad claims of infringement against software vendors. By clarifying that abstract ideas used in software are not eligible for patent protections, industry groups believe that the decision could make claiming infringement on common practices and methods more difficult.

"Today's Supreme Court decision is good news for software patents," said Morgan Reed, director of software lobbying group ACT.

"It clarifies what is patentable, removes some of the uncertainty, and confirmed what we all know to be true: abstract business methods don't deserve patent protection."

The decision is the second unanimous ruling made this month by the Supreme Court to limit the scope of patent-infringement claims.

In the Akamai vs Limelight verdict, decided earlier this month, the court found that end-users and third parties could not be held liable for "indirect" infringement when they perform a portion of a larger process. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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
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
Govt control? Hah! It's IMPOSSIBLE to have a successful command economy
Even Moore's Law can't help the architects of statism now
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
This'll end well: US govt says car-to-car jibber-jabber will SAVE lives
Department of Transportation starts cogs turning for another wireless comms standard
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'
New voting rules leave innocent Brits at risk of SPAM TSUNAMI
Read the paperwork very carefully - or fall victim to marketing shysters
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.