In what Politico is calling “a small win for companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft,” the Supreme Court has ruled that simply turning an abstract idea into computer code doesn’t mean you have a patentable invention. But the decision doesn’t do much to create a clearer test of whether an invention can be patented.

The real estate industry is rife with court battles over software patents from everything from automated valuation models (AVMs) to mobile search techniques.

Companies that hold patents and file lawsuits to protect them, without actually using the technology to produce a product or service themselves, are often characterized as “patent trolls.”

The National Association of Realtors expressed support for three bills introduced in the Senate last year to curb patent trolls: the Patent Abuse Reduction Act of 2013, the Patent Litigation Integrity Act of 2013 and the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act of 2013.

Politico reports that Sen. Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, has withdrawn the last bill, saying lawmakers and industry leaders could not agree on how to tackle the issue. Source: politico.com.

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