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Supreme Court Ruling Keeps Door Open for Software Patents

Jun 29, 2010, 13:32 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)

"Waiting until the last day of the 2009-2010 term, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) handed down its ruling on Bilski v. Kappos today, a case that narrowly focuses on the patentability of a method to hedge weather risks for consumer energy prices, but more broadly represents the patentability of software.

"Unfortunately, while the SCOTUS opinion upheld the lower courts' decision to not allow the specific patent in this case, it did not agree with the reasoning the lower courts came to their decision, and has left open the door for continued software patents for the time being.

"Bilski is the result of the 1998 Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) decision in State Street Bank v. Signature Financial Group, which had the effect of broadening patents to cover algorithms and abstract concepts. This decision was quickly interpreted in a way to allow software in the US to be patented, which has led to an ever-mounting patent semi-cold war of threatened and applied litigation."

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