I know patent law can be a crashing bore, but this is pretty ground breaking stuff. The following dispute highlights the still-thorny issue of patents in a financial industry that increasingly relies on technology to streamline its costs and more efficiently provide services to customers.
Section 18 was aimed at helping banks avoid having to pay money to use basic data processing techniques, such as the digital processing of checks. At the time, some commentators expressed concern that the law could potentially affect other types of financial patents outside its intended scope. Those concerns have been revitalised following a request by TD Ameritrade, the online brokerage company, for the US patent office to review certain patents owned by Trading Technologies, a Chicago-based company, with a view to invalidating them under Section 18.