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 18/4/2015: ExTiX 15.2, RaspArch

    Links for the day



  2. Microsoft Tired of Pretending to be Nice to Free/Open Source Software (FOSS), Microsoft 'Open' Technologies Dumped

    Microsoft dumps its proxy (misleadingly named 'Open Tech') and other attacks on Free software persist from the inside, often through so-called 'experts' whose agenda is to sell proprietary software



  3. More Translations of French Article About the EPO

    German and Dutch translations of the Le Monde article are now available



  4. Links 17/4/2015: Wipro and the Netherlands Want FOSS

    Links for the day



  5. Microsoft's Multi-Dimensional Assault on Android/Linux: Extortion, Lobbying of Regulators, and Bribes

    Microsoft's vicious war on Linux (and Android in its current incarnation) takes more sophisticated -- albeit illegal (as per the RICO Act) -- forms



  6. Microsoft's Plot to Associate Windows with 'Open Source' is Proving Effective, Despite Being Just a Big Lie

    A look at the latest headlines which can lead to a false perception that Microsoft is now in bed with 'Open Source'



  7. Microsoft Windows Remotely Crashed, Remotely Hijacked, But Still No Logo and No Branding for the Bugs

    Windows maintains its reputation as a back doors haven, but the media is still not highlighting the severity of this issue, instead focusing on accidental bugs in Free software, even very old (and already fixed) bugs



  8. Black Duck's Latest Self-Promotional Propaganda (for Proprietary Software) Still Fools Journalists

    Under the traditionally misleading title "Future of Open Source" Black Duck expresses its desire for proprietary software sales, salivating over fearful managers who may get bamboozled into buying the patents-'protected' Black Duck 'product'



  9. Links 16/4/2015: Opera for 32-bit GNU/Linux, New Chromebook Site

    Links for the day



  10. Links 15/4/2015: Plasma 5.3 Beta, Docker's New Funding

    Links for the day



  11. Microsoft is Still Googlebombing the Term Open Source and Fooling Politicians Who Now Think Microsoft is Open Source

    Microsoft's attempt to assimilate (to confuse) bears some fruit and the Microsoft-linked media plays a considerable role in it



  12. Back Doors/Bug Doors in All Versions of Microsoft Windows Need a Name, a Logo, and Branding Too

    All versions of Microsoft Windows are found to have been insecure since 1997, but the bug responsible for this is not named as candidate for back door access, let alone named (with logo and marketing) like far less severe bugs in Free/libre software such as OpenSSL



  13. OnePlus (or OnePlus Customers) Should Wipe CyanogenMod From Existing Devices and Install Something Else

    A call for OnePlus to reconsider any future updates from Microsoft's Trojan horse, Cyanogen



  14. Links 14/4/2015: 3DR Dronecode, Z1/Z2 Tizen

    Links for the day



  15. Links 13/4/2015: Linux 4.0 Released; A Look at Antergos 2015.04.12

    Links for the day



  16. EFF Uses Alice v. CLS Bank Case to Pressure USPTO to Halt Software Patenting

    A look at recent patent policies and actions from the EFF, as well as increasing secrecy at the USPTO



  17. No, Panasonic Did Not Open-Source Anything (Another Example of Openwashing for PR)

    A dissection of media deception (or media being bamboozled) regarding the act of promising not to sue using patents, which in no way relates to Free/Open Source software



  18. Yes, Software Patents Are Dying, But Media Continues to Be Dominated by Those Denying it For a Salary

    The debate about software patents in this post-Alice era parallels the Net neutrality debate, where voices of people with vested interests contribute to confusion and meddle with largely-accepted views/consensus



  19. Links 12/4/2015: Linux 4.0 Imminent, Semplice 7 Reviewed

    Links for the day



  20. GNU/Linux is Crushing Windows, So Microsoft Leaps Ahead to X+2 Vapourware (Two Versions Ahead Into the Future)

    Microsoft continues to pile up bogus claims and empty promises in an effort to stall migrations to GNU/Linux



  21. The ITC's and US Media's Surprisingly Soft Treatment of Patent Bully Apple

    Despite Apple's history of initiating patent aggression against its competition (mostly Android-backing companies), the US corporate media treats Apple like a victim



  22. Microsoft Continues to Attack (and Tax) Linux Using Software Patents

    Microsoft stabs Linux in the back while it continues to insist that it 'loves' Linux



  23. European Unitary Patent Decision Due 5th of May

    The meta-industry of patent protectionism is debating and pushing forth the Unitary Patent Court, with or without endorsement from the European public



  24. Microsoft is Still Googlebombing 'Open Source'

    Microsoft's massive campaign of deception, obfuscation and misuse of the "Open Source" brand is still on, even a week after it was cleverly started by Condé Nast



  25. Links 11/4/2015: elementary OS Freya, Mageia 5 on the Way

    Links for the day



  26. Links 10/4/2015: Linux 4.0 Imminent, ZFS On Linux Improved

    Links for the day



  27. New Article Chronicles Suicides and Nervous Breakdowns at the EPO Due to the Management's Abuses

    Article from Le Monde translated into English



  28. Links 9/4/2015: SalentOS, Semplice Releases

    Links for the day



  29. The EPO is Becoming More Like the USPTO Under Benoît Battistelli's Greed-Driven Reign

    Recent articles about the EPO and the Unitary Patent are bundled together to highlight truly disturbing developments whereby those in power beget power through instruments of state-sanctioned power, such as the EPO (stateless entity within a continent-wide 'island')



  30. More Suicides Reported at the Staff-Hostile European Patent Office

    The EPO has become so rogue that it might as well be renamed the Euthanasia-Prodding Organisation


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