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Top US court limits 'abstract' software patents

The US Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a computerized financial trading system cannot be patented because it is based on an “abstract” idea. In a case closely watched by the tech sector for its implications for software patents, the court struck down the patents held by Australia’s Alice Corp. in its dispute with a major global banking group. Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for a unanimous court, said the patented process of assessing financial risk “does no more than simply instruct the practitioner to implement the abstract idea of intermediated settlement on a generic computer.” The platform was backed by the US government and some key tech firms, including Google and Facebook.

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