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

02.10.13

Appeals Court Gets Another Chance to Abolish Software Patents in the United States

Posted in Google, Patents at 8:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Art museum

Summary: The Federal Circuit appeals court (CAFC) is taking some major steps that can help end software patents and Google plays a role in it

THE corporate/political campaign to change the patent system is gathering more steam. The Federal Circuit appeals court (CAFC), which we criticised before, is prepared to re-consider software patents; meanwhile we also learn that Google plays a role in asking for change:

The world’s largest search-engine company contends that too many other software patents hurt innovation more often than they lead to viable businesses. Google, along with JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the Yelp Inc. business-review site, say they need to be able to quickly resolve cases in which a patent owner sues a large number of companies over widely used software features.

An appeals court specializing in U.S. patent law will consider the issue tomorrow, in arguments about when software programs represent legitimate innovations and when they simply computerize ideas that couldn’t otherwise be patented. The question is important because challenging an invention’s eligibility for a patent can be quicker and cheaper than contesting a patent’s validity on other grounds.

The issue was considered at the end of last week and coverage of it depended on the messenger. SCOTUS Blog, i.e. lawyers, was bickering over this, whereas Groklaw, a more progressive legal site, had progressive people at the scene. Just being non-conformist does not make one “wrong”. Abolishing software patents is actually quite the norm in the software world, putting aside lawyers, MBAs, etc.

Here is some corporate press coverage and a bit from Rupert Murdoch’s main paper. IDG said that “Appeals court considers software patents,” potentially affecting the USPTO:

U.S. companies shouldn’t be able to get patents on abstract ideas when they combine those ideas with a computer process, a lawyer argued in an appeals court Friday.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit should invalidate four patents held by electronic marketplace Alice because the process described in the patents can be done in a person’s head or with a paper and pencil, argued Mark Perry, a lawyer representing CLS Bank, which was sued by Alice for infringement.

IDG also had this report which said:

Should an abstract idea written into software and run on a computer be patentable? That’s one question a U.S. appeals court will consider Friday when it hears arguments in a case with broad implications for software patents for companies as diverse as Google and Red Hat.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is unlikely to invalidate all software patents in the CLS Bank v. Alice Corp. case, but it could force tech companies to narrow their claims when applying for software patents, some patent experts said.

Simon Phipps, writing for IDG, called it “turning point in war on software patents” and his summary was as follows: (no ads)

A seemingly unassuming court hearing today could be the beginning of the end of software patents as we know them

At TechDirt, the leading headline was “Key Case About Software Patents May Hinge On How You Define ‘Significantly More’” and it says:

Last year, we wrote about the next important lawsuit concerning software patents, the CLS Bank v. Alice case, which the full Federal Circuit appeals court (CAFC) heard today. Our last post on the case provided the background, but the short version was that it involves some software concerning doing a “shadow transaction” to see if there are really enough funds to complete a transaction, before completing the actual transaction. The district court found that this was just a representation of an abstract idea, and thus not patentable. CAFC, using a typical three judge panel, reversed that decision, saying that it was patentable subject matter. However, CAFC agreed to rehear “en banc” with the entire 10 judges, because there was some concern about the original ruling (which was split 2 against 1).

[...]

While Sachs was disappointed that there wasn’t a clear attempt to define what constitutes an “abstract idea,” I’m not as sure that’s an issue. In fact, it almost seems oxymoronic to say that you need a strict definition of an abstract idea. The reason an idea is abstract is just that: it’s abstract. But, at the same time, I can understand why patent lawyers would generally prefer a brightline, objective rule that can demarcate what is and what is not patentable. Either way, lots of patent lawyers will be waiting eagerly for this ruling.

Here is another report:

A federal appeals court is set to consider a case closely watched by Google Inc, Facebook Inc and other technology companies that could determine how far the patent system should go in protecting software inventions.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which specializes in patent cases, will hear arguments on Friday over whether patents should be granted for business methods whose main innovation is that they require the use of a computer.

Many of our readers have probably read about this news already because it’s everywhere, including major news sites. But it’s worth keeping our own summary/record of this major development; surely it’s not the end of it. In Re Bilski, for instance, lasted years.

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 28/8/2014: Many New Games, CTO of Red Hat Steps Down

    Links for the day



  2. We Are Gradually Winning the Battle Against Software Patents

    The once-elusive war on software patents is finally leading to some breakthrough and even the Federal Circuit reinforces the trend of software patents' demise



  3. Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) Companies Versus FOSS Moles (VMware, Sonatype, Xamarin)

    A look at three entities which pretend to be pro-FOSS but are actually FOSS-hostile and very much determined to replace FOSS with proprietary software



  4. Links 27/8/2014: GNU/Linux in Space, China, LinuxCon

    Links for the day



  5. FUD Against Google and FOSS Security Amid Microsoft Windows Security Blunders

    In the age of widespread fraud due to Microsoft Windows with its back doors there is an attempt to shift focus to already-fixed flaws/deficiencies in competitors of Microsoft



  6. Microsoft Spin Watch: IDG Turns to More Microsoft Propaganda, Hires Microsoft Boosters

    Media in Microsoft's pocket is telling Microsoft's lies and deceives the public for Microsoft's bottom line



  7. Microsoft's Massive Tax Evasion Becomes Better Known

    A new report about Microsoft's admission that it plays dirty tricks with tax (sometimes using moles in government) is increasing awareness of Microsoft's criminal aspects



  8. Links 25/8/2014: China's Linux Revolution Imminent

    Links for the day



  9. Links 24/8/2014: GNU/Linux Specialisation and Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  10. Links 23/8/2014: GNU/Linux Growth

    Links for the day



  11. Microsoft-Funded Attacks on Android Security and Patent/Copyright

    A look back at examples of people who smear Android and are receiving (or received) money from Microsoft



  12. Blowback in Chile and Munich After Microsoft Intervention

    Microsoft's attacks on the digital sovereignty of countries involves lobbying, corruption, an attack on standards (e.g. ODF), an attack on FOSS policies, and even an attack on accurate reporting (truth itself)



  13. The End of Microsoft is Nigh

    A look back at a tough year for Microsoft and a not-so-promising future



  14. Links 22/8/2014: Linux Foundation LFCS, LFCE

    Links for the day



  15. UPS Burned by Microsoft Windows, Gives Away Massive Number of Credit Card Details

    UPS is the latest victim of Microsoft's shoddy back door with software on top of it (Windows); attempts to blame FOSS for data compromise actually divert attention from the real culprit, which is proprietary software



  16. Microsoft's Funding of ALEC and Other Systemic Corruption

    Microsoft role in writing of laws by proxy, via groups such as ALEC



  17. Microsoft is Still Preying on British Taxpayers, Playing Politics

    Some news from the UK showing how Microsoft uses politics to extract money out of taxpayers, irrespective of their preferences



  18. Microsoft's Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as 20% of Staff Laid Off

    More good news regarding the demise of patents as Microsoft's leading patent proxy is collapsing more rapidly than anyone ever imagined and software patents too are collectively doubted



  19. Links 21/8/2014: Conferences of Linux Foundation, Elephone Emerges

    Links for the day



  20. Links 20/8/2014: Linux Event, GNOME Milestone

    Links for the day



  21. Corruption Watch: Microsoft Lobbying Designed to Kill Chile's Free Software Policy and Promote Microsoft With Subsidies, More Dirty Tricks Emerge in Munich

    icrosoft is systematically attacking migrations to GNU, Linux and Free software, using dirty tricks, as always



  22. Vista 8 Such a Disaster That Even Microsoft Cannot Cope With It, Vapourware Tactics Start Early

    Microsoft's Windows-powered services are failing and Windows gets bricked by Microsoft patches, whereupon we are seeing yet more of Microsoft's vapourware tactics (focusing in imaginary, non-existent versions of Windows)



  23. On BlackBerry and Other Patent Trolls

    A roundup regarding patent trolls, starting with the bigger and latest joiner, BlackBerry's new patents apparatus



  24. Links 19/8/2014: Humble Jumbo Bundle 2 Betrayal, Mercedes-Benz Runs GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  25. BlackBerry -- Like Microsoft Nokia -- Could be the Next Patent Proxy Troll

    BlackBerry is restructuring for patent assertion (i.e. trolling) in the wake of some alliances with Microsoft



  26. After Microsoft's Soft Bribe Some Non-Technical Deputy Does Not Like Free Software, Microsoft-Linked Media Responds to This Non-News by Making Bogus Claims of Munich Leaving GNU/Linux (Updated)

    The subversive forces that have secretly been attacking Munich over its migration to GNU/Linux (Microsoft press, Gartner, and even HP) are back to doing it while China and Russia follow Munich's lead



  27. Gates Foundation CFO Quits and Debate About Revolving Doors Recalled Amid Systematic and Shrewd Bribery of Public Officials

    More officials step out of the Gates Foundation and their destination is not known yet; Gates continues to corrupt the public sector with his money so as to increase personal gain at taxpayers' expense



  28. Links 19/8/2014: GNU/Linux Raves and Alternative to Proprietary Voice Chat

    Links for the day



  29. Links 18/8/2014: Linux 3.17 RC1, Escalation in Ferguson

    Links for the day



  30. Gartner Group Advocates Using Defective Software With Back Doors

    Despite strong evidence that Microsoft has been complicit in illegal surveillance, Gartner continues to recommend the use of Windows and other espionage-ready Microsoft software


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