The U.S. Supreme Court met this morning on software patent eligibility guidelines in a case being watched closely by technology companies, USA Today reported. The case, which is between Australia-based Alice Corp. and CLS Bank International, will look at what new apps should get patent protection. The number of software patents in the United States has grown from about 2,000 in 1980 to more than 40,000 a year, creating more than 400,000 on the market. Those favoring existing patent protections say that making patents harder to obtain will reduce the incentive to invent new apps, while the other side says that the sheer volume of patents today harms innovation because of the cost of lawsuits for patent infringement. Initially this morning, the court gave little indication it would set new guidelines, Reuters reported