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US: SCOTUS ruling puts patent troll victims’ future in question

 |  June 20, 2014

Last Thursday’s ruling by the US Supreme Court regarding software patents is leaving questions for victims of patent troll abuse, according to reports.

SCOTUS announced its ruling late last week that some patents in Alice Corp. vs. CLS Bank were invalid because they represented an abstract idea, even though those ideas were applied to a computer. According to the Main Street Patent Coalition, of which several retail groups are a member, the ruling could help patent troll abuses.

”Overbroad and abstract patents like the one invalidated today provide the ammunition for patent trolls to prey on businesses,” the Coalition said following the SCOTUS ruling.

But the high court’s decision also leaves some questions regarding patents, especially since the Senate decided to postpone efforts to overhaul the patent system with the goal of reining in such patent trolls, which obtain patents for the sole purpose of obtaining licensing fees or suing those that use those patents. Many of the patent obtained by the trolls are the vague intellectual properties SCOTUS just ruled cannot be patented.

The head of the Application Developers Alliance, Jon Potter, said the case highlights the need to overhaul the patent system, and calls into questions thousands of patents that have been issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office that could not be considered invalid.

”The question for Congress and for app developers is how many of these mistakes has the PTO made? And how will Congress help patent troll victims that are abuse by hundreds of trolls wielding thousands of patents that never should have been issued?”

The Alliance, with members that include Yahoo and Google, is now calling on Congress to pick up its patent reform goals once again, especially as software developers warn against an overly broad application of SCOTUS’s ruling.

Full content: The Hill

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