The United States Supreme Court today announced that it plans to revisit the question of software patents.

On Monday, for the first time since 1981, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether software — or more precisely, computer-implemented inventions — can coninue to be patented. The case, Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank, focuses on software built to eliminate “settlement risk” in currency and financial transactions where money is held in escrow and one party could renege on a deal and leave the other holding the bag. Alice Corp. claims that CLS Bank offers a service that infringes on its patent.

A meeting like this is honestly long overdue. The patent system is a horrific, irredeemable mess, better suited for bullying inventors into submission than it is for protecting their intellectual property. Maybe this will be the first step on the long road towards fixing it.

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