Updated:
February 27, 2014

Whether the idea of using a third party to settle financial accounts among financial institutions to minimize risk through the use of a computer program can properly be patented.

The Supreme Court has held that abstract ideas cannot be patented. The Federal Circuit in this case concluded that the challenged patents attempted to monopolize an abstract idea and were therefore invalid, and the fact that the abstract idea covered by the patents was implemented using a computer does not change the analysis. The ACLU amicus brief endorses that conclusion as consistent with core First Amendment values that can and should be taken into account when construing patent law.

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