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Supreme Court will review software patent law

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 07 Dec 2013 17:27 User comments (4)

Supreme Court will review software patent law The Supreme Court has announced this week that it will review software patent law, most specifically what kinds of software are eligible for patent protection.
Alice Corporation, which holds a patent for a computer system that facilitates financial transactions, has had the patent challenged by CLS Bank International in the case watched by the whole software industry.

The court's eventual decision will decide the circumstances in which companies can be sued for using software in their products.

Giants like HP, Google and Facebook have all asked the Supreme Court to also look at another similar case, one brought by a company called WildTangent. What is at stake is huge, and could spell the end of patent trolls that destroy innovation and bleed companies, large and small.

Patent 'trolls' file lawsuits against tech companies using (usually) extremely vague patents, forcing the companies to spend money on litigation rather than research and development. Trolls hold and hoard patents the single intent of suing companies with them.

The main question that will be answered by the Court is how innovative an invention should have to be to receive legal protection under the law.

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4 user comments

17.12.2013 18:56

What an uninformed article.

Specifically, the Wild Tangent lawsuit does not involve any patent troll. It is a lawsuit by a company that claims to have invented a technology against another company that is using a technology.

Second, this article reflects a complete lack of understanding about what a patent troll is. Whether someone is a patent troll has nothing to do with whether patents are vague, and nothing to do with whether the companies they sue are big tech companies or some other kind of company. A patent troll is simply someone who buys patents from inventors and then tries to get royalties from other companies who are using those inventions. Often, this is the only way for small inventors to get the economic value of their inventions, because small inventors often lack the resources to enforce their patents, so they can at least sell their patents to someone else who has the resources to enforce them.

There is a legitimate debate the social value of patent trolls, but this is an extremely inaccurate and agenda-driven description of how patent trolling work.

27.12.2013 20:45

Do away with the patents. In some way, shape, or form, everything made is copied from someone somewhere. Otherwise we should all pay for the circles and squares that are using in every design out there.

If you can make a product better, then by all means. Patenting an idea or invention is lame. If you can't compete with your competitors without having a patent on your side, it means to me that you lack vision.

38.12.2013 3:40

Originally posted by GryphB:
Do away with the patents. In some way, shape, or form, everything made is copied from someone somewhere. Otherwise we should all pay for the circles and squares that are using in every design out there.

If you can make a product better, then by all means. Patenting an idea or invention is lame. If you can't compete with your competitors without having a patent on your side, it means to me that you lack vision.

I can't agree. You must protect yourself from others copying your stuff. The research stage and the final design mean big money to the first developer of the idea, but all that costs ZERO bucks to anyone who comes later.

So, of course, the inventor needs some time to protect his invention and get any profit from it, which he won't have if others steal it and start selling it at a much lower price in an early stage of distribution.

Other thing is that patenting a drawing of a rectangular shape with round corners puts any tablet builder in the obligation of paying royalties to whoever patented it, specially if such thing was invented BEFORE the patent was filed and there's plenty of proof of that fact.

I mean, a regulation on this *is* an actual need for most big companies. But, please, not the current nonsense. The part related to software patents, which is the main point of the article above all, but not only that. The concept itself of patenting an idea needs also a full revision.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 08 Dec 2013 @ 3:43

"You know, it seems that quotes on the internet are becoming less and less reliable." -Abraham Lincoln.

410.12.2013 9:45

Unfortunately common sense can't be made protocol. Why do we need 4+ standards to claim an invention. There's copyright, patents, trademarks, registered... possibly more..IANAL.

In my feeble attempt of making sense out of this I say we use a single system, patents must be clearly defined and must be exactly as the inventor intended. If the holder does not make a physical or saleable item within 3 years the patent is lost. If a product is taken to market the patent holder may then claim copyrights for the duration that they can produce the item but must not hinder competition (i.e. only direct and nefarious copies are to be tried). After 10 years a trademark may be applied allowing the original owner a percentage or "royalty" fees but cannot prevent any copying or modifying. After 20 years it enters the public domain and is free for all to use, only a simple registered or note of trademark for the original creator will be used.

I understand this is all about the $$, but that's not what we should use the patent system for. It should be used to better society as a whole and not focus on creating instant millionaires.

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