Summary: A collection of new articles bemoaning software patents for the most part
THERE have been many articles recently addressing the subject of software patents. Here are some that we found last week:
● Patent Lawyer: Software Patents “Restrict What Feels Like Our Treasured Personal Freedom (by Timothy B. Lee)
amesh Ponnuru writes in the New York Times today that Republicans need to stop idolizing Ronald Reagan’s policies, which were great in the 80s but no longer address the problems we face now.
In the vigorous, ongoing debate about the state of America’s patent system — and the state of software patents, in particular — there are some legitimate issues that call for practical solutions, and there is a great deal of peripheral noise. To sort through and identify which is which, BSA and the National Association of Manufacturers co-hosted a packed briefing event this week on Capitol Hill.
Software firms are coaxing U.S. lawmakers to protect patent law because they encourage tech innovation and protect research, and not be put off by the current court battles over intellectual property.
The U.S. patent system isn’t perfect, but lawmakers and judges shouldn’t solve current controversies by eliminating software patents altogether, executives with Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Covia Labs, and Procter & Gamble said during a briefing last week before congressional staffers in Washington, D.C.
It might seem strange that a dispute between a farmer and a seed company could have effects across Silicon Valley. Yet the outcome of Bowman vs. Monsanto, a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, could be crucial to the way software companies fight for their patents.
Justices last week heard arguments from farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman and seed-making giant Monsanto over whether Bowman had rightfully used the company’s genetically modified and pesticide-resistant seeds, which are patent-protected. Bowman bought second-generation seeds from a third party selling them as feed, but instead used them to grow soybeans. Essentially, Monsanto argues that Bowman infringed its patents by using copied versions of its seeds, and a U.S. circuit court has agreed.
The impact of the justices’ decision will surely extend beyond farming and into the wider biotech industry. And, depending on exactly how the court rules, it could reach into the tumultuous battleground of software patents.
Many computing giants took notice of the case and filed an amicus brief in support of Monsanto through the Software Alliance, an advocacy group.
“Although the patent law issues in this case arise in the context of agricultural seeds, this Court’s resolution of those issues could have a significant effect on other parts of the economy, particularly technology companies,” reads the brief, cautioning that since computer software could be considered “self-replicating” – like seeds – the court could “facilitate software piracy on a broad scale” with a ruling that eliminates patent protection for Monsanto’s seeds.
Adobe, Apple, AVG, Dell, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Rosetta Stone and Symantec were the major tech giants listed as supporters of the brief.