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05.11.13

While New Zealand (NZ) Stomps on Software Patents High US Court Helps Legitimise Them, Again

Posted in America, Patents at 2:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Corporations-run nation cannot listen to the wisdom of citizens-run nation

Statue of wisdom

Summary: In disappointing news from CAFC, which helped make software patents the monster they have become in the United States (and only in the United States, deviating from much of the world), there is further legitimisation of this root problem, whereas NZ does the very opposite

WHETHER software patents in New Zealand have officially been destroyed may definitely be a subject of active debate (we wrote about it twice already), but de-legitimisation of software patents is certainly achieved and the NZ press still plays along [1, 2, 3], making software patents look very bad. Patent lawyers are hardly quoted in NZ articles and multinational corporations like IBM and Microsoft seem to have fled from the scene, having lobbied heavily to legitimise software patents in NZ (unbelievable overreach not just by corporations but by foreign corporations). As Alan Lord put it the other day, “Sanity in #NewZealand. Gov says NO to #swpats [software patents] … When is the USA going to wake up and smell the coffee?”

“Patent lawyers are hardly quoted in NZ articles and multinational corporations like IBM and Microsoft seem to have fled from the scene, having lobbied heavily to legitimise software patents in NZ (unbelievable overreach not just by corporations but by foreign corporations).”The rude patent boosting site (patent lawyers) say “New Zealand has not abolished software patents”, but this is more spin than truth. Being IAM ‘magazine’, they always try to discredit software patents-hostile sources and instead push the pro-software patents line.

Meanwhile, teaches us Reuters in some breaking news (overnight), the United States has done nothing like NZ, in spite of having another opportunity. The headline says that the “U.S. appeals court issues divided ruling in software patent case” and the opening paragraph names the Australian company Alice Corp: “A federal appeals court on Friday ruled that Australia’s Alice Corp does not hold valid patents on a computerized trading platform, but it remained unclear how the decision would affect other software patents.

“The software industry had been watching the case for a clue to legal protection of intellectual property rights that generate much of the sector’s profits. But the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals failed to reach a consensus on how to determine what software is patentable.”

As TechDirt put it, “10 Judges, 135 Pages Of Ruling About Software Patents… And Zero Clarification”. It says that CAFC “has quite the reputation for mucking up rulings concerning patents over the years. In fact, there’s a strong argument to be made that CAFC is a key reason that our patent system is so screwed up today. So, leave it to CAFC to issue one of the most bizarre and useless rulings ever concerning software patents. The specific case is CLS Bank v. Alice Corp, and we had noted this was a chance for CAFC to actually fix the software patents problem, though the oral hearings suggested a very conflicted court, and that’s certainly what came out in the ruling. Or, rather, I should say: rulings.”

“There are seven (count ‘em) different opinions issued in the document,” the site says, “none of them meaning anything, because none of them — other than that one paragraph above, have more than the majority in agreement.”

Masnick notes that “basically, all of this means nothing. It doesn’t help to wipe out or clarify software patents at all. It doesn’t really help anyone. It probably doesn’t make anyone on any side of this issue happy. It just leads to more confusion.

“However, as Julie Samuels at the EFF notes, hopefully this will help make it clear to the Supreme Court that it finally needs to issue a clear ruling on software patents, after completely punting the last time it had a chance.”

“We wrote about CAFC before and we also wrote about SCOTUS, noting its role in perpetuating software patents in the US. Both rule favourably towards software patents, perhaps due to influence from large corporations.”Julie Samuels says “It’s Time [for SCOTUS] to Take Up Software Patents (Again)”

We wrote about CAFC before and we also wrote about SCOTUS, noting its role in perpetuating software patents in the US. Both rule favourably towards software patents, perhaps due to influence from large corporations. Just look who the administration appoints to run the patent system and the courts.

Surprisingly (or not), it was a law professor who actually said the ruling was favourable to weakening of software patents. This contradicts somewhat other reports we can locate at this stage (this is fresh news).

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