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Bilski involves issues regarding what can be patented, and the Supreme Court decision could change the current approach to "method patents," and perhaps even impact "software patents." A further and more significant change may come from the President's nomination of David Kappos of IBM to be the next Director of the Patent Office. While in the past, IBM was a prolific filer of patent applications, many of them covering business methods and software, it has filed an amicus brief in Bilski opposing the patentability of business method patents. However, and perhaps not surprisingly, IBM defends approval of software patents. Mr. Kappos announced his opposition to business method patents last year by stating that "[y]ou're creating a new 20-year monopoly for no good reason." Thus, it is unclear where Mr. Kappos will attempt to draw the line between software and business method inventions worthy of patent protection.
by: zoobabzoobab
18 Jul 2009 14:13
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I am a software engineer who writes about that topic and related areas of computer science. Recently, I published an article titled Software Engineering != Computer Science, which discusses the differences between programming and formal (mathematical) computer science. In response to that article, IPWatchdog.com kindly invited me to comment about some of the controversy surrounding patents for software. I gladly accepted. My position is that software must be patentable, or 500 years of patent laws make no sense.
by: zoobabzoobab
17 Jul 2009 15:05
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A Stamford patent agent and a Massachusetts actuary have paired to seek a patent on an insurance product aimed at promoting safety among teen motorists. Mark Nowotarski, president of Markets, Patents & Alliances LLC, said today the U.S. Patent Office could rule by late June on their patent application (No. 20090063201) filed last October for the SoberTeen Driving Insurance product.
by: zoobabzoobab
16 Jul 2009 16:42
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But a more ambiguous "ownership" is emerging when the question turns to car insurance patents, where the rules of the game are still unfolding and patents that once seemed solid may no longer be. Under a major decision handed down last fall, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit interpreted federal law to make it much more difficult to patent "business methods."
by: zoobabzoobab
16 Jul 2009 15:56
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Mark Nowotarski is the President of Markets, Patents & Alliances L.L.C. and is a registered U.S. patent agent specializing in business method patents. He currently serves clients in the insurance, financial services, medical devices and manufacturing industries. Mark is also co-editor of the Insurance IP Bulletin. The Insurance IP Bulletin is dedicated to providing useful information to innovators in the insurance industry regarding the protection of their inventions with patents and ways to effectively promote their innovation.
by: zoobabzoobab
16 Jul 2009 15:53
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The 49-year old spent much of his career developing a system providing phonetic similarity searches for trade marks at a company that was later bought by CompuMark. But it was setting up a software company of his own in 2001 that led to political activism. As part of his work on open source computing, he went to a conference in Brussels organised by the anti-software patent campaigners Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure and got involved in the fight against the European Commission's proposed directive on computer-implemented inventions.
by: zoobabzoobab
15 Jul 2009 09:09
2 by pieterhpieterh
15 Jul 2009 09:25 Jump!
The patenting of software has increased significantly. Regardless of any personal bias as to the existence of software patents, it is a trend that is unlikely to end anytime soon. As a result, the open source movement may be threatened by the proliferation of non-meritorious or overly broad patents. Peer-to-Patent provides a means for mitigating the limitations that may be placed upon the open source community by software patents, as the program allows the open source community to participate in the peer review of pending patent applications. Members of the open source community are knowledgeable, interested parties with a unique stake in the software patent debate and thus are capable of making a significant contribution to improving the current system.
by: zoobabzoobab
15 Jul 2009 08:20
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Mark Zuckerberg was photographed in intimate conversation with Microsoft's former CTO in Sun Valley last week. The Facebook founder might simply have been quizzing Nathan Myhrvold about Zuckerberg doppelgänger Bill Gates. But there's a more interesting possibility. After leaving Microsoft, Myhrvold went into the patent business. His Intellectual Ventures works like this: Buy up patents, then use them to bludgeon large tech companies into forking over fees or making investments in Intellectual Ventures. In the course of his short career, Zuckerberg, as a tipster reminded us, has accumulated a nice array of patents. They're related, as you might guess, to social networking and digital media. Could he use them against his rivals via Myhrvold, raising some money for Facebook in the process?
by: zoobabzoobab
14 Jul 2009 15:32
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Now it is, indeed, clear that a patent is a monopoly grant to someone that permits them to charge above-market prices; this is exactly the goal of the patent law: to provide this monopoly profit to inventors so as to incentivize them to innovate and file for patents. And it is why, for example, Blackberry paid over $600 million to NTP in a recent patent suit; and it is why consumers will have to pay more for Blackberry services than they otherwise would, etc. Did NTP have "monopoly power" as defined by the government's antitrust scheme? I don't know. Probably not. But did they extort RIM/Blackberry by use of the government-granted patent monopoly? Of course.
by: zoobabzoobab
14 Jul 2009 14:33
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My biggest concern with this debate relates to software and business methods patents. Specifically, that we can somehow discuss their validity as though they exist in a vacuum - that they’re not connected to other intellectual property vehicles such as copyright and trade secrets. [...] What then happens if software and business method patents are removed as an option? It will be like trying to burst a balloon by stomping on it only to watch the air shift out to the ends? All the focus on IP protection will move to the only option left. Trade secrets.
by: zoobabzoobab
14 Jul 2009 14:25
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We learned that the sand is shifting with respect to the way the Patent Office is handling Bilski. What we learned is that things that we were doing in previous months are no longer acceptable. It seems that early last week a memo went out from the powers that be to the examiners handling Bilski-related applications, and in the memo it was explained that merely putting “computer implemented method” in the preamble of the claim is not something that will any longer work to overcome a patentable subject matter rejection under 35 U.S.C. 101. It seems that now you need to have “computer implemented method” in the preamble and there must also be positive recitation of “a computer” in the body of the claim.
by: zoobabzoobab
14 Jul 2009 14:12
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I spent the better part of last week in Washington, DC conducting Examiner interviews for some of my clients that have pending software patent applications. The great news is that I believe we now have a handle on the ever changing Bilski ruling. I know it sounds like a misstatement to say that the Bilski ruling is ever-changing, but apparently, the reality of the situation is that when the Federal Circuit provides a ruling, it comes with little or no guidance for the Examiners to properly examine applications based on the ruling. The guidance comes from internal memos to Examiners from the PTO indicating how applications should now be examined based on Bilski.
by: zoobabzoobab
14 Jul 2009 14:07
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It strikes me that the current fascist patent regime versus no patents is a false dilemma. We could look when patents make sense and when they don’t. Pharmaceutical patents make the most sense among patents, because the cost of the research so exceeds the cost of the manufacturing. Thus, it could be argued that pharmaceutical patents increase research. However, there’s really no economic argument for software patents, as the “research” expense for the software patent is the research checking out that no one else has patented the idea.
by: zoobabzoobab
14 Jul 2009 10:51
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In our humble assessment, the Peer-To-Patent initiative was looking for volunteers to legitimise software patents. It is an example where the real issue is approached inadequately and handled poorly. Some time earlier this month someone advertised a blog that would list a Microsoft patent per day — one that Linux may infringe on — and then seek to invalidate it. As many people rightly pointed out, this was a tactless approach that only encouraged more uncertainty - not confidence - in Linux. For whatever effect it may have, we have also been critics of "Linux Defenders" and TomTom was proof that OIN may just be a massive toothless tiger.
by: zoobabzoobab
13 Jul 2009 11:21
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The nature of the claimed invention in these cases also raises serious questions about online rights. The Spangenberg companies, by suing hundreds of websites, have claimed a proprietary right over e-commerce itself. I'm not making that judgment based on an analysis of his patents—I'm making it based on the accusations in the lawsuits, filed against hundreds of companies that don't have anything apparent in common other than the fact that they sell stuff online. And while Spangenberg targets only big corporations, many of his imitators have no such scruples.
by: zoobabzoobab
09 Jul 2009 13:04
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Unfortunately, attorney Plotkin's remarks perpetuate a myth that many patent attorneys would like the rest of us to believe - that software patents are necessary to the software industry to induce innovation. Yet, every empirical study of the impact of software patents on the software industry has shown that they have had no meaningful impact on the industry, either positive or negative. If you think of the software giants of today, such as Oracle and Microsoft, they all became quite successful without the benefit of software patents and only turned to patenting their software innovations when they perceived a need to do so to protect themselves from the threats posed by other large companies.
by: zoobabzoobab
08 Jul 2009 18:32
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The internet it still in its infancy, but already we see fantastic things appearing as if by magic. Take Linux, the free computer operating system, or Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Witness the participatory culture of MySpace and YouTube, or the growth of the Pirate Bay, which makes the world’s culture easily available to anybody with an internet connection. But where technology opens up new possibilities, our intellectual property laws do their best to restrict them. Linux is held back by patents, the rest of the examples by copyright.
by: zoobabzoobab
08 Jul 2009 11:29
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Even at present, more than 50 years after the foundation of the European Economic Community, it is not possible to obtain a patent that is valid and enforceable throughout the Community. A Community Patent Convention was signed in Luxembourg in 1975, but never entered into force for lack of ratification by Member States. In 2000, the Commission put forward a proposal for a Council Regulation creating a Community patent97, but this proposal has not yet been adopted. Accompanying proposals to establish a Community Patent Court, with appeals before the Court of First Instance98, and to confer jurisdiction on the European Court of Justice in disputes relating to the Community patent99 have also remained in deliberation. Most recently, in a Communication of 2007, the Commission has stated that the creation of a single Community patent continues to be a key objective for Europe. With respect to litigation, the Commission has indicated that the way forward could be to create a unified and spe
by: zoobabzoobab
08 Jul 2009 10:42
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There is an urgent need for the establishment of a Community patent and a unified specialised patent litigation system in Europe to reduce administrative burdens and uncertainty for companies. A full 30% of patent court cases are conducted in parallel in several Member States, and in 11% of cases national courts reach conflicting judgements. [...] Preliminary results were published in November 2008. More than 70 submissions were received from stakeholders. Consumer associations, health insurers and the generics industry have welcomed the results arguing that they confirm their concerns. The originator industry and their advisors have supported the call for the creation of a Community Patent and a specialised litigation system, whilst arguing that generic delay and the decline in innovation is caused by regulatory shortcomings.
by: zoobabzoobab
08 Jul 2009 10:32
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The first antitrust investigations are already under way. The report also calls on Member States to introduce legislation to facilitate the uptake of generic drugs. The report notes near universal support amongst stakeholders for a Community Patent [it has taken about two decades to win this battle...] and specialised patent litigation system [... and rather less time to win this one ...] in Europe [... but this is a much wider issue than pharma alone].
by: zoobabzoobab
08 Jul 2009 10:29
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