Tech Companies Call For Ban On Patenting Abstract Ideas


A group of tech companies including Google, Facebook, Red Hat and Dell have stepped into a U.S. patent case to call for a ban on patenting abstract ideas, according to TG Daily.

The companies, which also include Rackspace, Zynga and Intuit, have filed a third-party amicus brief in the case of CLS Bank International vs Alice Corp, currently before the U.S. federal Court of Appeals.

They’re arguing that the Alice patents involved, which cover financial processes, are invalid because they are too obvious and abstract. Describing a process and then trying to patent ‘doing it on a computer’ is pretty meaningless, they say.

“A disturbing number of patents amount to no more than describing an abstract idea at a high level of generality and saying to perform it on a computer or over the internet — without providing any of the specifics required to transform abstract ideas into patentable inventions,” the companies say in their brief.

“Low-quality patents in computer-related industries have become a scourge that raises costs and places a drag on innovation. One study found that patents in these [tech] industries have produced net litigation costs far in excess of the net profits derived from the patents themselves.”


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