The future of software patents

Supreme Court takes stand that abstract ideas cannot be patented

Dana Rao, vice president, intellectual property and litigation at Adobe Systems

Some recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions have provided key distinctions on patent law, yet many attorneys would like to see much clearer tests and definitions.

One key case in this matter proved to be Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International. In their decision, the justices confirmed that an abstract idea cannot be patented under Section 101 of Title 35 U.S.C. even if a computer is used.

As a result of Alice, many patent writers will likely become more cautious and explicit, Cohen says. “It's a little bit more work for the people who draft the patents,” he adds.

In considering the Alice decision, Kevin Flynn, a North Carolina IP lawyer, says that the environment is not changed much by the Alice decision, and when it comes to Alice and startups, “this really didn't change anything.”

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Ed Silverstein

Ed Silverstein is a veteran writer and editor for magazines, websites and newspapers. A graduate of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, he has won several...

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