SCOTUS limits patents on software technology - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

SCOTUS limits patents on software technology

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The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on limiting patents of software technology on Thursday. (Source: CNN) The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on limiting patents of software technology on Thursday. (Source: CNN)

WASHINGTON, DC (CNN) – The Supreme Court reached a decision Thursday on a technology dispute that's captured the attention of industry giants like Google, Facebook and IBM.

The justices ruled unanimously against an Australian company that wanted exclusive intellectual property for "Inventco," a computerized system for working with financial instruments, like derivatives.

The court said simply putting an idea into a computer system, like investment trading, does not add anything new to that idea, and therefore doesn't deserve intellectual property protection.

The standard underlying Thursday's decision is that software must make a tangible improvement in how a computer works, beyond its routine functions.

Getting a patent on computer-based innovations has become big business. Only about 2,000 were approved in 1980, there are currently more than 40,000.

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