Supreme Court: Software is Patentable

The Supreme Court has issued its long awaited opinion in Bilski v. Kappos.  Read it here.  The Supreme Court essentially affirmed the Federal Circuit’s decision which is summarized here.

via Patently-O and Filewrapper.

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Business Method Patents at the U.S. Supreme Court

On June 1, 2009, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in Bilski v. Doll, and will consider whether the en banc decision of the Court of Appeals of the Federal Circuit “Federal Circuit” in subjecting business method patents to the “machine or transformation” test was appropriate. Specifically, the Supreme Court will consider the following two issues:

  • Whether the Federal Circuit erred by holding that a “process” must be tied to a particular machine or apparatus, or transform a particular article into a different state or thing “machine-or- transformation” test, to be eligible for patenting under 35 U.S.C. §101, despite this Court’s precedent declining to limit the broad statutory grant of patent eligibility for “any” new and useful process beyond excluding patents for “laws of nature, physical phenomena, and abstract ideas.”, and
  • Whether the Federal Circuit’s “machine-or-transformation” test for patent eligibility, which effectively forecloses meaningful patent protection to many business methods, contradicts the clear Congressional intent that patents protect “method[s] of doing or conducting business.” 35 U.S.C. §273.

via Business Method Patents at the U.S. Supreme Court – Martindale.com.

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PDF Creators Compatible with EFS-Web

EFS-Web is the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) web-based patent application and document submission system.  I have been filing all my documents electronically since the USPTO started beta testing electronic filing (and I am shocked to see that some law firms still do not use electronic filing).

All documents filed via EFS-Web must be pdfs with embedded fonts, or image-based.  This requires a pdf writer.  According to the USPTO, versions of commercial PDF Writer software that work with EFS-Web include: [Read more…]

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May 26, 1981: Programmer-Attorney Wins First U.S. Software Patent

May 26, 1981: Programmer-Attorney Wins First U.S. Software Patent

via May 26, 1981: Programmer-Attorney Wins First U.S. Software Patent | This Day In Tech | Wired.com.

Link: U.S. Patent No. 4,270,182.

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Bilski cited, again, in BPAI rejection

Method claim 1 does not recite any machine or apparatus or call for transforming an article into a different state or thing. A domain name is simply a series of characters representing the address of a resource, such as a server, on the World Wide Web.

Links: Ex parte Atkin.

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PTO will apply its “broadest reasonable” claim interpretation

The legal point to consider from this case is that the PTO will apply its “broadest reasonable” claim interpretation during its §101 analysis. Here, the BPAI panel found that the broadest reasonable interpretation of IBM’s claim does not necessarily “require computer or machine implementation” and thus that the claim fails the “tied to a particular machine” prong of Bilski machine-transformation test.

via Patent Law Blog (Patently-O): BPAI: PTO Should Apply Broadest Reasonable Claim Interpretation to Section 101 Analysis.

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Roundup: In re Bilski

PatentlyO:

Fish and Richardson:

Groklaw:

Electronic Frontier Foundation:

[Read more…]

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Half.com (Now Ebay) Patent Granted after 8.5 Years – the Value of Patents

Josh Kopelman at First Round Capital has a good post on the value of patents after fighting for 8.5 years to get one of his granted. His Half.com (Ebay.com) patent received six rejections, half of them final, before it was allowed. I explain this to clients, particularly software startups, on a daily basis – good patents are often very hard to get, you will receive many rejections, and it will be very expensive to respond to those rejections with no guarantee that you will ever be granted a patent. Fire your patent attorney if he fails to explain that to you.

[Read more…]

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GNU General Public License Version 3 Released

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) released version 3 of the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL). GNU GPL is a free software license. According to FSF, almost three quarters of all free software packages are distributed under the GNU GPL license.

Links: The Free Software Foundation, GNU, List of Software Licenses, GNU General Public License.

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Google Patent Search

You can now search patents with Google. Google Patent Search covers the entire collection of patents made available by the USPTO, from patents issued in the 1790s through those issued in the middle of 2006.

Links: Google Patent Search (via lifehacker)

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