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Digital Life

Top US court limits ‘abstract’ software patents

Published on Jun 20, 2014 6:39 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that a computerized financial trading system cannot be patented because it is based on an “abstract” idea.

In a case closely watched by the tech sector for its implications for software patents, the court struck down the patents held by Australia’s Alice Corp. in its dispute with a major global banking group.

Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for a unanimous court, said the patented process of assessing financial risk “does no more than simply instruct the practitioner to implement the abstract idea of intermediated settlement on a generic computer.”

Thomas added that these processes “add nothing of substance to the underlying abstract idea,” and as a result they are “patent ineligible.”

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