Headlines: “Justices Deny Patent to Business Methods”

The US Supreme Court has ruled that basic business methods cannot be patented, even if computers are a part of the methodology. This ruling outlines that using computers in generic ways to implement basic business methods does not sufficiently transform an abstract idea, the business method, into a patent-eligible idea. The New York Times reports that this decision will likely be closely read in Silicon Valley to determine how and when technical ideas become eligible for patent protection. The judge responsible for the ruling stated that it is not intended to call into question the validity of computer-implemented patent claims, as many are eligible. The Times further reports that this ruling illustrates how companies that build large valuable patent portfolios must negotiate “patent trolls,” who have attained patents for vague or general concepts and spend the majority of their resources on litigation versus product or work development. Additionally, the Times notes that there has been a trend in recent Supreme Court rulings that demonstrate skepticism at protecting ideas or discoveries that might seriously limit innovation.

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