The week the Supreme Court came to a decision in the Alice v. CLS Bank case. The computer world has been keeping a close eye on the case because it not only concerns patents, but specifically involved those involved in technology. At the conclusion of the case, it was ruled that abstract ideas are not eligible for protection by patent.
This particular case was interesting because it involved a method of processing financial transactions. CLS Bank has complained that Alice Corp infringed upon one of its patents by applying the same method to a "generic computer implementation". In a blog post, Horacio Gutierrez, Deputy General Counsel & Corporate Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs at Microsoft, explains that "the Court correctly distinguished Alice’s invalid business method patents from valid patents that advance technology."
It is a ruling that has been widely welcomed, and Microsoft also approves of it:
"We applaud the Court for its ruling, and in particular their recognition that the patents in question are not software patents."
There are important implication for technology companies, in particular those involved with software. It makes clear that software inventions are eligible for patents, particularly when they "improve the functioning of the computer itself … [or] effect an improvement in any other technology or technical field."