U.S. top court considers patent protections for software

WASHINGTON Mon Mar 31, 2014 10:35pm IST

Related Topics

Stocks

   

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Supreme Court justices gave little indication on Monday they would set new guidelines on patent eligibility of software.

From their questions during an hour-long oral argument, the court appeared likely to rule for CLS Bank International by saying Alice Corp Pty Ltd's patents for a computer system that facilitates financial transactions were not patent eligible.

Although some of the nine justices signaled a willingness to set a test that would describe exactly what types of computer-implemented inventions were patent eligible, others suggested there was no need for so broad a ruling.

A decision is expected by the end of June.

Chief Justice John Roberts questioned whether a proposed test, suggested by Solicitor General Donald Verrilli on behalf of President Barack Obama's administration, would make the complex issue any clearer.

"I'm just doubtful that's going to bring about greater clarity and certainty," Roberts said of the proposal.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor also suggested the court might steer clear of the broader question.

"Why do we have to reach software patents in this case at all?" she asked Verrilli.

The case is being closely watched by a broad swath of companies in the technology sector and beyond.

Google Inc (GOOG.O), Dell Inc, Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N), Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N) and engine manufacturer Cummins Inc (CMI.N), are among the companies that have filed legal papers weighing in on the issue.

In May 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C ruled for CLS but the judges were split 5-5 on which legal test to adopt.

The case is Alice Corp v. CLS Bank, U.S. Supreme Court, 13-298.

(Editing by Howard Goller and Grant McCool)

FILED UNDER:

Hack Attack

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Nifty Above 8,600

Nifty Above 8,600

Nifty hits record high above 8,600; state-run lenders gain  Full Article 

Indian in Iraq

Indian in Iraq

India says no contact with 39 men held by Islamic State in Iraq.  Full Article 

Sahara Issue

Sahara Issue

Sahara looks to raise $650 million loan to fund bail.  Full Article 

Bhopal Tragedy

Bhopal Tragedy

Bhopal's toxic legacy lives on, 30 years after industrial disaster.  Full Article 

Essar Group

Essar Group

Exclusive - Essar's planned oil-for-steel deal tests Iran sanctions  Full Article 

Islamic Fund

Islamic Fund

India gets new Islamic equity fund but debt market still off-limits  Full Article 

Fiscal Deficit

Fiscal Deficit

April-October fiscal deficit nears 90 pct of full-year target  Full Article 

Oil Prices

Oil Prices

Oil hits new four-year low post OPEC as glut looms  Full Article 

Gold Imports

Gold Imports

India eases gold import rule in surprise move.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage