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06.02.11

SCOTUS Helps the Monopolists, Not the Citizens of the United States (Again)

Posted in America, Patents at 3:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Supreme Court US, 2009

Summary: The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) shows its commitment to other dubious departments/branches of the government (USPTO) rather than justice for the people

SSCOTUS deals another blow to software developers (as before) by sidling with the unreasonable and requiring that coders essentially study hundreds of thousands of patents before writing a single line of code. Ars Technica says that according to SCOTUS, “‘willful blindness’ to patent infringement not OK”:

In a lopsided 8-1 ruling, the Supreme Court on Tuesday held that “willful blindness” to the existence of a patent will not save you from charges of inducing other companies to violate the patent at issue. The case has drawn interest from the software industry because a lower court decision had chosen a laxer standard, “deliberate indifference,” that a coalition of software companies warned would be bad for innovation. The Supreme Court agreed with the lower court that the defendant here was liable, but it did so with a narrower rule that is less likely to ensnare inadvertent infringers in future.

Remember that “justice” is relative and it can also be pronounced “just us” (the rich people, those in power who use the legal system to protect them from the population). This magnitude of cronyism can easily make European software developers say to the USPTO and SCOTUS (which defends the same line, being part of the same institution) “up yours!” Let us “innovate in peace,” advised Knuth to the European system when he urged against software patents. Knuth is quite the backer of Google, which suffers a lot from Microsoft’s patent attacks (and patent tax).

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3 Comments

  1. twitter said,

    June 2, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Gravatar

    I read that Red Hat and Google favored this ruling and I’m not sure that individuals have as much to worry about as companies do. Microsoft, for example, exercises a lot of willful blindness with their policy of forbidding coders to ever look at patents. Likewise, a company with a large legal department that researches and files thousands of patents a year can more easily be accused of willful blindness than a company that files no patents or an individual who simply hacks on a free software project. The Microsoft spinners will, as usual, try to say this is the death of software freedom rather than examining their own problems.

    As usual, the solution is to abolish software patents.

    Needs Sunlight Reply:

    Developers are a very small part of the demographic affected by software patents. Users are a much larger part.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    But only less directly.

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