Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and other tech companies have filed a brief with the Federal circuit in the U.S. State Court of Appeals, urging the court to shut down vague patent claims like those filed in a case involving two financial companies.

facebook google

The brief filed by Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and the other tech companies was one typically made by parties not involved in the case, although they are, for some reason, interested in the case’s outcome. For example, they may be affected by what happens as a result of the case.

The problem stems from a patent filed by Alice Corp. years ago, which dealt with a computerized method for wrapping up transactions. In July, the court decided that the patent would stand, but the claims in the case are very broad. The patent is for a “data processing system to enable the exchange of an obligation between parties.” As Mike Isaac at All Things D points out, that sounds pretty much like a computer—any computer.

This not only poses a problem for the case’s defendant, CLS Bank, but also tech giants like Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG). It sets a precedent for Alice Corp. to be able to bring other patent cases based on this broad claim.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and the other tech giants which filed the brief said that vague phrases like “on a computer” or “over the Internet” should not be able to legitimize a patent. In addition to Facebook and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), other companies which signed the brief include Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL), Intuit Inc. (NASDAQ:INTU), Rackspace Hosting, Inc. (NYSE:RAX), HomeAway, Inc. (NASDAQ:AWAY), and Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA).