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. Microsoft's Vista 10 Still a Failure, So Focus Shifts to Attacks on GNU/Linux, Android

    Vista 10 adoption is already plateauing (at very low levels considering the zero-cost 'upgrade') and Microsoft is trying to assert or exploit (patent) monopolies where adoption and market growth are extremely high (Free software)



  2. Links 3/9/2015: Xiaomi's Linux Push, Calligra/Krita 2.9.7

    Links for the day



  3. TechBytes Episode 89: Chromebooks, Privacy, and Vista 10

    An episode which focuses on the rise of Chromebooks, serious issues pertaining to privacy, media bias, and the demise of Windows



  4. Links 2/9/2015: Chromebooks and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2 Beta

    Links for the day



  5. Software Patent From Troll Called 'Rothschild Connected Devices Innovations' a Symptom of a Rotten Patent System

    Another example of patent trolls and software patents as gatekeepers and parasites, denying access to very trivial ideas or implementations



  6. When Even Patent Lawyers' Blogs Acknowledge the Rapid Demise of Software Patents

    Voices for patents are accepting the new order wherein software patents are hardly potent at all (and increasingly difficult to acquire)



  7. Calling Proprietary Software, Software Patents, Lock-in (Like OOXML) and DRM 'Open'

    What Microsoft et al. call 'Next-Generation Open Media Formats' are basically neither open nor acceptable (it's DRM) and what Microsoft apologists dub 'Open Source Tools' are just another example of a Microsoft Office openwashing Trojan horse



  8. Recycled Old News About Vista 10, Stressing That Not Only '10' is Spyware But All of Windows is

    How Microsoft propagandists are spinning Microsoft's gross and potentially illegal privacy violations as a reason to 'upgrade' to Vista 10



  9. Links 1/9/2015: Manjaro Linux 0.8.13, Netrunner 14.2 LTS

    Links for the day



  10. Patents Roundup: IAM's Claims About India, Lawyers' Patent Bias, ITC for Microsoft, and PTAB Against Kyle Bass

    Another weekly summary, focusing on issues that pertain to or affect Free software in particular



  11. Microsoft Crowd Rocks the Media With Misleading Claims and Deliberate Lies About GNU/Linux, Vista 10, and Free/Open Source Software

    A roundup of rigged press coverage, intended purely to serve Microsoft's agenda



  12. Links 31/8/2015: Linux 4.2, LXLE 14.04.3

    Links for the day



  13. IRC Proceedings: August 9th, 2015 – August 29th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  14. “Conservative” Site Responds (Yet Again) to Misguided “Conservative” Efforts to Derail Patent Reform in the US

    Patent trolls throw stones in glass houses, contributing to their own unpopularity, but some influential “Conservatives” continue to defend (conserve) them



  15. Increase in Lobbying for Software Patents in Europe and Its Trojan Horse, the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The relentless campaigns to bring software patents into Europe have not stopped and so-called 'unification' -- much like so-called 'trade' deals -- serves to support them



  16. Microsoft Technology Crashes Financial Markets, Again

    SunGard, which is a Microsoft shop, is clearly failing to provide what it calls mission-ciriticaal [sic] solutions



  17. Alice v. CLS Bank (Alice/§101) Comes to Squash Software Patents Even in Eastern District of Texas

    The crackdown on software patents is coming along nicely and the Alice case is now being utilised even in the capital of patent trolls



  18. Apple's Patent Cases Against Android Are Falling Apart, as Acknowledged Even by the Anti-Android Lobby





  19. Links 29/8/2015: NetworkManager 1.0.6, Systemd Merges “su” Command Replacement

    Links for the day



  20. Microsoft Loves Linux to Death and Still Tries to Kill GNU/Linux

    Microsoft's relentless attacks on GNU/Linux and Free software in general (even if it runs on Windows) are so evident that claims of 'love' remain laughable at best (if not infuriating)



  21. Censorship, Self-Censorship and Intimidation Now the Modus Operandi at EPO

    The European Patent Office has ceased even trying to pretend that it respects human rights, including the right to free speech



  22. Patent Practitioners: "The Unitary Patent Might be Able to Open the Floodgates for Software Patents in Europe"

    The EPO-backed Unitary Patent scheme threatens to bring software patents to Europe and along with them a lot of patent trolls from all around the world (especially the United States)



  23. Microsoft Lies About Vista 10 and Increases Microsoft Surveillance (Even Beyond Vista 10 and Into Android, Vista 7/8)

    Windows surveillance expands retroactively, making its way into platforms other than Windows and also expanding to predecessors of Vista 10



  24. Another Suicide at the EPO, Fifth by Our Count

    Yet another EPO member of staff has just committed suicide, leading to the inevitable question: how many people need to die before Battistelli and his minions are out of the Office for good?



  25. Links 27/8/2015: ownCloud Desktop Client 2.0, Red Hat Downgraded

    Links for the day



  26. Microsoft-connected Mesosphere Threatens to Eliminate Free Software in the Datacentre

    Hiding behind a misleading 'open' label while actually backed by Microsoft (and based on new rumours may join Microsoft), Mesosphere wishes to eradicate Free and back doors-free software in large datacentres hosting a lot of physical and virtual servers



  27. Microsoft Aggression Against GNU/Linux Amid Vista 10's Failure

    A look at the recent assault on GNU/Linux in Munich and the likely cause for this assault (in such a timely fashion, too)



  28. Message to LinuxCon Regarding Microsoft: “It is Necessary to Get Behind Someone in Order to Stab Them in the Back.” -Sir Humphrey Appleby

    Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, helps Microsoft gain influence in the Foundation after payments are received



  29. Market Share Estimates Confirm That Vista 10 Failed in a Major Way

    Confirmatory evidence that Vista 10 is failing in the market about a month after its much-hyped (paid coverage) release



  30. When Microsoft, the Master of Patent Trolls, Complains About Trolls

    Possibly the world's biggest patent abuser and monopolist, which also creates many patent trolls (including by far the biggest one), takes on a far smaller abuser in Court


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