Supreme Court tosses out software patent

Associated Press photo by J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE -- People wait outside the Supreme Court building in Washington in this AP file photo. Show caption
Associated Press photo by J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE -- People wait outside the Supreme Court building in Washington in this AP file photo.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has tossed out an Australian company’s patents for business software in a closely watched case that offers new guidance on the standards for awarding patents.

The justices on Thursday unanimously agreed with a lower court ruling that invalidated Alice Corp.’s patents for managing risk in financial trades.

New York-based CLS Bank International had claimed the patent simply took an idea that has been around for thousands of years and programmed it to run through a computer.

Dozens of technology firms including Google and Facebook filed briefs in the case urging the court to create clearer rules for software that can be patented.