The Constitution gives Congress the power to grant inventors a temporary monopoly over their creations to “promote the progress of science and useful arts.” But in recent years, the government has too often given patent protection to inventions that do not represent real scientific advances.
On Monday, the Supreme Court will consider when the government should grant patents to processes that are based on abstract ideas. In a world where technology is rapidly changing, the Patent and Trademark Office has been flooded with applications that claim to have invented ways to solve problems. But it can be hard to discern if these creations should be patentable.
The number of patent applications has more than tripled in the last two decades, and the number of patents granted has multiplied two and a half times. But many of those patents appear to be overly broad and vague, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office. That increase has contributed to a surge in costly, and often frivolous, patent-infringement lawsuits.
…The Supreme Court should make clear that nobody should be allowed to claim a monopoly over an abstract idea simply by tying it to a computer.
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