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Time for IBM to Take the Lead a 'Pull a re Bilski' on Software Patents

IBM has just issued a formal response to re Bilski, whose outcome was discussed in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. It comes from Research, Development & Intellectual Property:

"IBM welcomes today's en banc Federal Circuit decision in the In re Bilski case, as it excludes from patent eligibility business method inventions that are not tied to a machine or transformative of an article. The Federal Circuit's "machine-or-transformation" test was a primary component of the test that IBM advocated in our amicus brief.

"The ruling applies a principled limitation on the scope of processes eligible for patent protection that should curtail the negative effects of the 1998 State Street decision. That ruling has been interpreted to expand patentable subject matter to include inchoate business methods. Patentability of such methods is contrary to the purpose of the patent laws, is not needed to encourage innovation, and results in an imbalance in the patent system.

"IBM commends the Federal Circuit for clarifying that the "useful, concrete, and tangible result" inquiry set forth in dicta in State Street is insufficient to determine whether a claim defines patent eligible subject matter. "

IBM is said to be responsible for this test, but it wants to eliminate business method patents while keeping software patents. IBM remains a pro-software patents company, so it's time for a rethink. Can IBM become a friend of Free (libre) software?

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