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A Patent Battle Silicon Valley Can’t Ignore

Technology companies are taking sides in a big legal debate taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court: Can software be patented?

It’s a complicated question, but it boils down to whether software is an idea, like pure math, or processes that must run on a machine. If the latter, the law is clearer that it can be patented.

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Technology companies may have more chances to weigh in. The Supreme Court is deciding whether to take on a case similar to the CLS case, WildTangent versus Ultramercial. In that case, which involves an Ultramercial patent related to viewing ads before viewing copyrighted material, the Federal Circuit upheld the patent. In a brief written by Mr. Lemley, Facebook, Netflix, Pinterest, Twitter and others argued to shoot it down because it is too abstract.

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Joe Lonsdale
Joe Lonsdale
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Chamath Palihapitiya
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Companies like Google argue “abstract patents are a plague in the high-tech sector.”