In a stunning verdict, the Supreme Court has tossed out a patent because it is a software patent, ruling that "merely requiring generic computer implementation fails to transform that abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention" — that is, adding "with a computer" doesn't make a new patentable invention. This is seismic, and not just because of what it says about whether software is patentable in America, but because of how it escalates the turf war between the Supreme Court and the Federal Circuit, which is the nation's "patent court."
The Supremes have spent more than a year pumping out decisions that fly in the face of the Federal Circuit's longstanding precedents, but the Federal Circuit judges have refused to consider Supreme Court decisions when hearing new cases — meaning that every time the Federal Circuit goes against a Supreme Court judgment, you have to apply to have the case retried in front of the Supremes to get justice. Normal practice is for Federal judges to treat the Supremes as having the last word on US legal interpretation, so when the Supremes rule, all the lower courts follow.
There have been rumors about the Federal Circuit being abolished — or having jurisdiction over patents yanked — as the turf war has heated up. Federal Circuit judges have a reputation for being ideologically biased towards patents as a matter of course, wanting to use patents to solve every problem. It's classic regulatory capture — patent judges tend to start life as patent lawyers, and are improperly chummy with the white-shoe lawyers who appear before them.