EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

11.03.08

What the Bilski Ruling Might Mean to Software Patents, Microsoft

Posted in America, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 7:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Homeless car plate

IN previous posts about the re Bilski ruling [1, 2, 3], a cursory look at the ruling was all there was to be offered.

Now that people have taken a more careful look, discussion among experts leads to better assessment and understanding of the decision’s impact on both business methods and software patents. Are they doomed altogether? Which ones? Would they hold water in court? Will they still be possible to obtain? What happens to existing such patents which applicants spent enormous amounts of time and money on? What does this mean to companies whose patent portfolio is their main or only business? These are all interesting questions and a subject that will be debated for quite some time.

Courtesy of and thanks to the work of Digital Majority, here are some posts of interest.

Prematurely-announced Victory?

On the subject on software patents:

State Street Overruled… PERIOD

The Federal Circuit has overruled State Street and software patents are no longer available as they have come to be available over the last 10 to 15 years.

Software and business method patents take a hit

Certainly we are not at the end of this, but for the first time in a long time advocates of software patents have been put on the defensive. This is really big.

Effect on Microsoft

Microsoft has for long relied on the last resort which is software patents. It also kept itself occupied trying to expand patentability of software to the many countries which reject them (e.g. India). The ruling regarding Bilski could , but as predicted some weeks ago by Stop Software Patents people, it’s sensible to expect pro-software patents lobbyists to strike back.

Either way, here are some posts or interest:

Microsoft Has A Problem: Software Patents Go Up In Smoke

So, companies like Microsoft would have a lot to rue about as a huge portion of their patent portfolio has become circumspect. This not only would rob them of revenues in terms of royalties but would also open up a lot of space for competition as well. Special thanks to Red Hat to take up the fight and providing crucial data to the court to take this decision.

US court throws out most software patents – Microsoft has a problem

Much of the patent portfolio of some of the world’s biggest software companies has become worthless overnight, thanks to a ruling yesterday by the US patent court.

The Scariest Things in Open Source

Another scary thing for those in Open Source would be patents. Honestly, thanks to the legal work done by so many in the FOSS world (big props to you guys), patents have more or less become a huge paper tiger. They still scare a lot of people, but in the end, all the saber rattling by the big boys (Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, Intel, etc, etc) have more or less rendered patents as nothing more than dead trees splattered with ink.

Reality Check

Some more moderate analysis from Mike Masnick:

Is There Still A Big Loophole For Software And Business Method Patents?

It’s not a full rejection of software or business model patents, but I think that’s for the best in the long run. It’s better to create proper overall rules, rather than trying to carve out exemptions and creating a patchwork of rules. However, I’m still worried about the loopholes, and how quickly lawyers with tons of patents seem ready to leap through those loopholes.

As a little bit of background and historical perspective:

Federal Circuit Reins in Business Method Patents

During the 1990s, it handed down its Alappat and State Street decisions, which gave a green light to patents on software and business methods, two categories of innovation that had traditionally been regarded as ineligible for patent protection. Even as the evidence mounted earlier this decade that these patents were hindering, rather than promoting, technological innovation, the Federal Circuit showed no sign of backing down.

The decision (or clarification) which will come from EPO is important too [1, 2, 3, 4]. Suffice to say, as IPKat pointed out last week, this may have an impact on the UK as well (Nokia did some damage there [1, 2, 3]). In addition, re Bilski could affect the judgment of the EPO.

“[The EPO] can’t distinguish between hardware and software so the patents get issued anyway”.”

Marshall Phelps, Microsoft

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 22/11/2014: Linux Mint 17.1, Ubuntu MATE

    Links for the day



  2. Links 21/11/2014: Problems at Debian, Jolla Tablet

    Links for the day



  3. Links 18/11/2014: Linux 3.18 RC 5, New DigiKam

    Links for the day



  4. Special Report: Many Criminal Charges Against EPO Vice-President Željko Topić

    The abuses of Željko Topić, who has gained notoriety in his home country, are rapidly becoming public knowledge across all of Europe



  5. Links 16/11/2014: Xfdesktop 4.10.3, GNU Hello 2.10

    Links for the day



  6. Microsoft is Going Into the Anti-Whistleblowing Business, Dodges Criticism Over 19-Year Bug Door in Windows

    With Aorato acquisition Microsoft helps protect the criminals (from whistleblowers) and with lies about .NET Microsoft distracts from a bug that has facilitated remote access into Windows (by those in the know) for nearly two decades



  7. Reaffirming Microsoft's Long-Known Hostility Towards Net Neutrality, Microsoft Crashed Juniper

    Steve Ballmer is ranting against net neutrality and Juniper's business is in trouble after a lot of executives from Microsoft took over most top positions there



  8. Another Massive Step Towards Elimination of Software Patents as Even CAFC Rules Against Them

    After SCOTUS gets involved in the Ultramercial case, the CAFC finally decides to actually serve justice rather than dogma



  9. The GOP's Patent Reform Plan Not Effective Enough to Stop Massive Patent Trolls Like Microsoft/Nokia

    The corporations-serving GOP says that it wants a patent reform, but another reminder is needed of the futility of the suggested changes



  10. How the EPO's Executive Branch (Battistelli and Topić) Banned Scrutiny and Created Authoritarian Model of Control: Part X

    A look at highly dubious moves by EPO President Battistelli and his right-hand man Topić, whose abuses are becoming hard to oversee or even report



  11. Links 15/11/2014: Linux Mint 17.1 Release Candidate, Popcorn Time 0.3.5

    Links for the day



  12. IRC Proceedings: October 26th, 2014 – November 8th, 2014

    Many IRC logs



  13. The Terrible Joke Which is Microsoft 'Loving' Linux: Nightmares With UEFI 'Secure' Boot (i.e. Windows Monopoly Imposed) Continue to Affect GNU/Linux Users

    A reminder of Microsoft's sheer hostility towards GNU/Linux and long-reaching sabotage of GNU/Linux installations



  14. Patent Lawyers Worry About Section 101 in 'Alice' (and Other Patent News)

    A quick roundup of news of interest regarding software patents



  15. Will Write for FUD (Against FOSS)

    Black Duck rears its ugly head again, serving to show that it is in the business of changing perceptions and not in the information or analysis business



  16. Debunking Several Days of Never-Ending Lies About Microsoft and .NET

    .NET is not "Open Source", it cannot be forked (there remains patent threat), Visual Studio is still completely proprietary and it is expected to come to other platforms only because Windows has lost its dominance and Microsoft wants to perpetually control APIs (with software patents) and hence reign over developers



  17. Links 14/11/2014: LibreOffice 4.3.4, Ads Now in Firefox

    Links for the day



  18. Links 14/11/2014: GNOME 3.14.2, PulseAudio 6.0

    Links for the day



  19. Microsoft Windows is Still Designed as a Paradise of Back Doors, Intrusion, Wiretaps, and Interception

    At many levels -- from communication to storage and encryption -- Windows is designed for the very opposite of security



  20. Forget the FUD About Bash and OpenSSL, Microsoft Windows Blamed for Massive Credit Cards Heist

    Home Depot learns its lesson from a Microsoft Windows disaster, but it stays with proprietary software rather than move to software that is actively audited by many people and is inherently better maintained (Free/libre software)



  21. Windows 'Update' and NSA Back Doors, Including a 19-Year Bug Door in Microsoft Windows

    The back doors-enabled Microsoft Windows is being revealed and portrayed as the Swiss cheese that it really is after massive holes are discovered (mostly to be buried by a .NET propaganda blitz)



  22. Revealed: Microsoft is Trying to Corrupt the UK in Order to Eliminate Its OpenDocument Format-Oriented Standards Policy

    Microsoft interference with Britain's preference for ODF is now confirmed, thanks to a valuable news report from Computer Weekly; OOXML lock-in is being unleashed by Microsoft on Android users



  23. Links 13/11/2014: Ubuntu MATE 14.04.1 LTS, New KDE Plasma

    Links for the day



  24. .NET is NOT "Open Source", But Microsoft's Minions Shamelessly Openwash It Right Now

    The openwashing of .NET continues with yet another publicity stunt that is intended to lock in developers



  25. Links 11/11/2014: GNOME Trademark Dispute Settled, Mozilla Embraces Tor

    Links for the day



  26. Patent Reform Subversion After Republican (GOP) 'Win' in US Senate

    The Grand Corporations Party, or the political party which serves large businesses that are funding it, continues to just focus on a mirage of a 'reform' rather than tackle the real issues where culprits include very large businesses such as Microsoft and Apple



  27. Microsoft-Armed Patent Troll MOSAID (Now Conversant) Wants to Sweep up More Patents for Litigation

    Reports about patent trolls and scope of patents serve to show what the foes of Free software are up to right now



  28. When Courts in the US Attack the Right to Reuse APIs

    Challenging the clueless ruling from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the United States (very pro-software patents and anti-computer science), notable programmers write to the highest court



  29. Links 10/11/2014: 2015 GNU/Linux Forecasts, Debian Shakeup

    Links for the day



  30. Links 7/11/2014: War Thunder on GNU/Linux, KaOS ISO 2014.11

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts