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Last week, [...], advocates for technological freedom won an enormous victory against socially harmful distortions of patent law. A Federal District Court [...] held invalid patents owned by Myriad Genetics on diagnostic testing for genetic susceptibility to the most common hereditary forms of breast and ovarian cancer. [...] Judge Sweet rejected the basic premise on which gene testing patents [...] have been justified: that the amplification of naturally-occurring DNA sequences is a patentable transformation of the DNA molecule. Instead, Judge Sweet adopted the view put forward by Myriad's own expert witnesses, that DNA is a special molecule, "a physical carrier of information," and therefore held that the reading of such naturally-occurring information is not patentable subject matter. [...] In reaching his legal conclusions, Judge Sweet relied significantly on the recent opinion of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit In re Bilski.
by: ggiedkeggiedke
08 Apr 2010 06:05
1  
A U.S. court has rejected Microsoft's request that a full panel of judges hear its appeal in a patent dispute with Toronto's i4i. Microsoft made the request in January after a judge ruled that its Microsoft Word software infringed on a patent owned by i4i. Courts awarded the small company $200 million US in damages in August 2009, while Microsoft's initial appeal was rejected in December.
by: ggiedkeggiedke
02 Apr 2010 17:15
1  
Apple filed a patent-infringement complaint against Taiwan’s HTC Corp. yesterday, seeking to prevent U.S. imports of phones that run Google Inc.’s Android operating system. The decision to take the case to the International Trade Commission signals that Apple wants to curb HTC’s market share gains as quickly as possible, said an expert.
by: ggiedkeggiedke
04 Mar 2010 08:53
2 by ggiedkeggiedke
17 Mar 2010 18:53 Jump!
For society, however, the loss of competition through the granting sole rights to an individual or organisation is justified only if it stimulates the economy and delivers goods that change people’s lives for the better. [...] Instead of stimulating innovation, such [business method] patents seem more about extracting “rents” from innocent bystanders going about their business. [...] If truth be told, few inventions are really worth patenting. Time and again, surveys show that in both America and Europe companies rate superior sales and service, lead time and secrecy as far more important than patents when it comes to profiting from innovation. [...] Pursuing patents aggressively for cross-licensing agreements has little to do with encouraging innovation, though. Indeed, by increasing transaction costs, such deals are in effect a tax on innovation.
by: ggiedkeggiedke
07 Feb 2010 12:09
1  
Kappos said that the project “got a good level of interest. It got positive responses from examiners and the public. [The project's participants] found significant prior art, especially in non-patent literature. That's important in software, where so often it's not patented prior art. Our mission as an agency is to get the best prior art in front of examiners. There clearly is value [in the project]."
by: ggiedkeggiedke
05 Feb 2010 12:40
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The machine or transformation test is the current analysis that the courts and the Patent Office will take when considering whether subject matter is patentable. As both Bilski and Prometheus show, this question is not industry specific, but it is particularly important when an inventor is trying to obtain patent rights directed to processes. Because of the changing landscape, and the likelihood that whatever the Supreme Court does, there will remain unanswered questions about where the boundaries lie, the patent practitioner should always consider trying to claim processes both broadly and as tied to devices and/or causes one or more transformations.
by: ggiedkeggiedke
13 Nov 2009 17:03
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Microsoft has been granted a patent on a privilege escalation system which appears to cover the functionality of PolicyKit, which is used for fine grain authorisation on Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE and other Linux systems.
by: ggiedkeggiedke
13 Nov 2009 10:51
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It appears that Microsoft has just patented sudo, a personalized version of it. Here it is, patent number7617530. Thanks, USPTO, for giving Microsoft, which is already a monopoly, a monopoly on something that's been in use since 1980 and wasn't invented by Microsoft.
by: ggiedkeggiedke
12 Nov 2009 19:45
1  
At Monday’s hearing, neither party had the objective of abolishing software patents. The Bilski case is about a business method patent, so there was Mr. Jakes arguing that business methods should be patentable, and Mr. Stewart arguing that they shouldn’t. For software to be excluded, we’re relying on the judges (to whom we wrote an amicus brief, as did many others). There’re a few worrying statements, but there’s also a lot of hope.
by: ggiedkeggiedke
10 Nov 2009 16:09
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Official transcript of the hearing Bilski vs. Kappos before the US Supreme Court, Nov 9 2009
by: ggiedkeggiedke
10 Nov 2009 16:08
1  
At 2pm ET on November 9, 2009, Chief Justice John Roberts gaveled the session to a close announcing that the case had now been submitted. The arguments were good, and the Court was most assuredly hot, peppering both sides with question after question seeking to probe the issues. It is clear that the Supreme Court did their homework
by: ggiedkeggiedke
09 Nov 2009 21:23
1  
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Bilski matter. It is not an overstatement to say that the fate of much future innovation rests squarely on the Supreme Court getting this one right. [...] In a to the point dissent Judge Rader of the Federal Circuit said virtually all that needs to be said about Bilski: "This court labors for page after page [...] to say what could have been said in a single sentence: 'Because Bilski claims merely an abstract idea, this court affirms the Board’s rejection.'" Instead [Federal Circuit] seemed to dust off an opinion that had been previously written to be unveiled when the time was right, regardless of the facts of the case. [Why else] didn’t address the single issue presented by the Bilski patent application, but rather opined about methods in general.
by: ggiedkeggiedke
09 Nov 2009 19:20
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The last two decades have seen an extraordinary growth in the number of patent applications for business technologies and methods. Critics of business method patents tend to assign responsibility for this development to judicial activism by the judges of the Federal Circuit especially those responsible for the decision in State Street [...] The judicial activism thesis may have a superficial appeal. [...] Yet the judicial activism thesis suffers from multiple glaring problems and plainly cannot account for the timing of the rise in business method patenting, which plainly began well before State Street.
by: ggiedkeggiedke
09 Nov 2009 18:58
1  
With the tech industry looking on, the Supreme Court today will explore what types of inventions should be eligible for a patent in a pivotal case that could undermine such legal protections for software. A ruling that sides with the Patent Office could bar patents on processes and methods of doing business, such as online shopping techniques, medical diagnostic tests and procedures for executing trades on Wall Street. And it might even undercut patents on software.
by: ggiedkeggiedke
09 Nov 2009 18:18
1  
In a world of constantly accelerating technological change, economic prosperity depends on innovation. To support such innovation, it is vital that our patent system be well-calibrated, so that overly broad patent monopolies do not choke innovation. In the last several years, patent standards have been relaxed by the courts, which has created a patent system that hinders innovation in the software industry. The Supreme Court now is considering a case, Bilski v. Kappos, that may address this critical problem.
by: ggiedkeggiedke
09 Nov 2009 18:18
1  
In upholding a lower court ruling, the federal circuit wrote that a business process (like online banking) must be `tied to a machine' or transform `a substance into a different state or thing' in order to qualify for patent protection. This `machine or transformation' test, as it is called, is too rigid to incite innovation. If the circuit court ruling is upheld, it could have a negative effect on Connecticut technology companies where the ability to patent innovations in business systems is critical to be competitive and maintain customers.
by: ggiedkeggiedke
09 Nov 2009 18:16
1  
The SFLC and I recently filed a brief in Bilski v. Kappos, along with plenty of other lawyers, and I gave a talk about the case, and the future of patent law, this morning at Cardozo Law School. The outpouring of amicus briefs in this case, which will be heard by the Court on November 9, must be particularly noticeable to the Justices and their law clerks: a stack of dozens of third-party briefs seeking attention would have been the lunchtime talk of that inner core of the Court back when I worked there, and I'm pretty sure that hasn't changed. A high stack of amicus briefs [...] means people outside the Supreme Court think the case is important. Bilski is very important indeed.
by: ggiedkeggiedke
09 Nov 2009 18:14
1  
Bernie Bilski and Rand Warsaw were just a couple of "math geeks for hire" from Pittsburgh when they applied for a patent in 1997. They had an idea for making the unpredictable predictable for utility companies: a way to make energy bills consistent, month to month, no matter what Mother Nature had in store, weatherwise. WeatherWise USA Inc. is the name of their company, in fact. What Bilski and Warsaw did not predict is that their patent application would be rejected and, on appeal, would make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court 13 years later.
by: ggiedkeggiedke
09 Nov 2009 18:13
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If the Litigation Daily were prepping for our first Supreme Court argument--no snickering, please--in a case that's considered one of the critical business controversies of the Court's term, we would be a damn sight more nervous than J. Michael Jakes of Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner. On Monday, Jakes is arguing Bilski v. Kappos, a closely watched IP case that will help decide whether business methods are patentable. But last Thursday afternoon, when we called him, Jakes was at his desk, sounding decidedly unfazed about his first U.S. Supreme Court argument.
by: ggiedkeggiedke
09 Nov 2009 18:12
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The US Supreme Court on Monday takes up the most fundamental question in patent law: Which innovations deserve the protection of a patent? The answer holds billion-dollar implications for the American economy. At issue is whether US patent protection must be limited to inventions involving machines and transformative processes, or whether patent law also embraces nonphysical inventions like improved business methods and software innovations.
by: ggiedkeggiedke
09 Nov 2009 18:11
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