Software patents aren’t dead, but they just took a blow. In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court has ruled that a series of banking patents didn’t cover a concrete software process but an abstract idea, throwing them out and potentially setting a stricter precedent for future patents. Alice Corp. and CLS Bank are both major financial institutions, and they’ve been sparring for years in court. The issue is a series of patents that cover a kind of electronic escrow or “intermediated settlement,” where a third party holds the real money while “shadow” balances are shown to both sides during trading. In order to preempt a threat from Alice, which held those patents, CLS asked for a court to declare them invalid, saying that the basic idea…

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Supreme Court rules software patents that cover ‘abstract ideas’ are invalid

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