Summary: Judge Gilford’s ruling puts software patent in the garbage can
IN Re Bilski is destined to travel all the way to the top where a newer verdict may be more explicit than implicit regarding software patents. The good news is that, in the mean time, the previous Bilski decision gets used to invalidate a software patent. From Slashdot’s summary.
“US District Court Judge Andrew Gilford (Central District of California) granted a summary judgment motion in DealerTrack v. Huber et al., finding DealerTrack’s patent (US 7,181,427) — for an automated credit application processing system — invalid due to the recent In re Bilski court decision that requires a patent to either involve ‘transformation’ or ‘a specific machine.’ According to Judge Gilford’s ruling, DealerTrack ‘appears to concede that the claims of the ’427 Patent do not meet the “transformation” prong of the Bilski test.’ He then applied the ‘specific machine’ test and noted that, post-Bilski the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences has ruled several times that ‘claims reciting the use of general purpose processors or computers do not satisfy the [Bilski] test.’ Judge Gilford analyzes the claims of the ’427 patent, notes that they state that the ‘machine’ involved could be a ‘dumb terminal’ and a ‘personal computer,’ and then concludes: ‘None of the claims of the ’427 Patent require the use of a “particular machine,” and the patent is thus invalid under Bilski.’ DealerTrack apparently plans to appeal the ruling. Interesting times ahead.”
By reading the Amicus Brief of IBM to the CAFC, it is pretty clear that the machine tranformation test which allows software patents and ban business method patents was invented by IBM lawyers.
To IBM, software patents may be a mechanism for ensuring that people buy GNU/Linux from IBM and not from smaller companies which cannot indemnify. IBM relies on gullibility and blind trust to a certain extent. █