Advocates of educational technology are applauding a U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this week that gives companies new protections against patent lawsuits.

The High Court's decision, which makes it easier to challenge patents on the grounds they cover products that are obvious combinations of existing technologies, could affect several ongoing patent disputes with ties to education.

"The court's decision makes it easier to challenge a patent on the basis of obviousness,'" said Steven L. Worona, director of policy and networking programs for the higher-ed technology group EDUCAUSE. "This is a major step forward in the struggle against patents that many...

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