Supreme Court to hear patent case

The Supreme Court said Friday that it will consider a software patent infringement case.

The case, Alice v. CLS Bank, focuses on a software patent for verified financial exchanges.

In a blog post, Electronic Frontier Foundation senior staff attorney Julie Samuels wrote that by considering the case, “the Court will be facing fundamental questions about whether many so-called software patents are impermissibly abstract.”

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Earlier this week, the House passed the Innovation Act. The patent reform bill, authored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), addressed low-quality software patents as initially drafted, but the version that passed the Judiciary Committee and then the House does not.

Patent reform advocates hoped the bill would allow companies being sued for patent infringement to challenge broad and vague software patents at the Patent Office. 

The provision’s opponents said the bill would provide infringers with a way to deflect patent lawsuits.

In the blog post, Samuels thanked the House for its action against the “patent troll” problem, but said “the root of that problem, which has largely been missing from the public debate, is patent quality.”

“There can be no doubt: we have a problem with low-quality, abstract software patents in this country,” she wrote.

“We are incredibly glad to see the Supreme Court take on this important question and we look forward to weighing in.”