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WASHINGTON (AP) — Is it too easy for high-tech companies to patent inventions that are not really new, but simply take an old idea and blend it with computer wizardry?
The Supreme Court wrestled with that question Monday as justices considered making it tougher for the government to issue patents for computer software.
The outcome could send tremors through an industry that touches virtually every sector of the economy, from gadgets on smart phones to advances in anti-lock brakes.
The issue has divided the nation's technology giants, with companies like Microsoft Corp. and IBM warning that new restrictions could nullify thousands of existing patents that are the product of billions in research and development. On the other side, firms including Google, Facebook and Netflix say the free flow of software patents has become a "plague" on the industry, blocking companies from promoting innovation.
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(These latest Intellectual Property (IP) news and events presented here, are prepared and compiled by us, the World Patent & Trademark Law Office (WPTO),for your reference and information)