11 Nov High court considers whether business methods can be patented
The post-industrial evolution of the U.S. economy has aroused multibillion-dollar questions over what kinds of inventions deserve patent protection, and on Monday the Supreme Court joined the muddle over whether new ideas and strategies do.
The courts and U.S. law have long held that the inventors of machines, chemical treatments and other physical processes deserve to win patents; on the other hand, they cannot win patents for abstract ideas or natural laws.
But with computers blurring distinctions between ideas and machines, and with the economy moving increasingly into the ether, the courts have struggled in recent years to define the limits of patent law, and specifically, whether many “business methods” qualify for protection.
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