The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments recently in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank - a case having to do with the eligibility of software for patent protection. According to Reuters, the justices did not indicate they would set radical new guidelines. This assumption comes from the character of the questions the justices asked during an hour-long oral argument. Tech companies are watching this case with particular interest.
"It's a digital idea for a digital age, so why wouldn't we get a patent on it?" Dana Rao, associate general counsel at Adobe Systems Inc., asked Bloomberg. "If Edison were alive today, he would be writing his inventions in software."
According to Bloomberg, the Supreme Court is likely to impose some limits on the patent eligibility of software. This issue has already divided the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the court charged with the interpretation of U.S. patent law. It is clearly a contentious issue, as the Government Accountability Office estimated almost half of all patent lawsuits between 2007 and 2011 involved software.
Whether the Supreme Court chooses to issue new guidelines remains to be seen, but many major industry players are anxiously awaiting the decision.