Bilski - Page number 2

Standing up to a patent bully

Red Hat and Novell stood up to a patent bully and got a favorable jury verdict in the IPI trial which invalidated some software patents that should never have been issued. It's hard to see how that's not a good thing for open source. It's also good that the particular battle has inspired discussion of the need for fundamental reform of the U.S. patent system. Red Hat has vigorously advocated such reform, and has taken strong positions on software patentability before the U.S. Supreme Court in the Bilski case and the European Patent Office. » Read more

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Gene patenting and free software: a breakthrough

Last week, to the surprise of patent lawyers and the biotechnology industry, advocates for technological freedom won an enormous victory against socially harmful distortions of patent law.  The Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York held invalid patents owned by Myriad Genetics on diagnostic testing for genetic susceptibility to the most common hereditary forms of breast and ovarian cancer.  By "patenting" the right to determine whether the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are present in the relevant mutated form in a women's genome, Myriad Genetics has been able to exclude all other laboratories from conducting the test.  Patients and their insurers have paid much more, and women and their families have waited crucial weeks longer than necessary for information relevant to treatment and potentially affecting survival.   » Read more

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Looking out for Bilski: software patents v. FOSS

Users of free and open source software (“FOSS”) have little to gain and much to fear from the patent system. The patent system poses two major threats to users: First, the software itself can be burdened or extinguished altogether by “software patents', that is, claims over basic techniques used in computer programs or common features of programs. Second, the use of computers to perform basic business functions traditionally performed in other ways, can be monopolized as a result of patents on computer enabled “business methods”. » Read more

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Some thoughts on software patents and the Supreme Court

When the Supreme Court heard oral argument in the Bilski case a few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be in attendance at their courtroom in Washington, D.C. I'd previously worked on a brief for Red Hat arguing that the Court should address the harm that software patents cause to innovation. Even so, I had my doubts as to whether the Court would fully appreciate the serious problem of software patents, and recognized that it might limit its attention to business method patents and try to avoid the software patents issue. » Read more

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