Much of the problem with the current U.S. patent system involves haze. Whether it is ambiguity regarding what the patent covers or murkiness about whether the technology covered by the patent is actually new, patent plaintiffs regularly use this uncertainty to their advantage. This ambiguity–often... Read more
By nature of our interests and where open source commonly intersects the law, we post a lot about patents in the Law channel on opensource.com. And it's been an interesting year for patents. In May, a verdict was delivered in favor of Red Hat and Novell in an infringement case based on bad software... Read more
The U.S. Supreme Court recently agreed to hear an appeal regarding the evidentiary standard for invalidating patents. The case involves a judgment against Microsoft Corporation in favor of i4i Limited Partnership. If the Court accepts Microsoft's arguments, it could be good news for the FOSS... Read more
The serious problem of proliferating bad software patents was not solved by the Supreme Court's Bilski decision, but now it's looking like it may be part of the solution. The early case law applying Bilski is much more encouraging than expected. The new Bilski test focuses on whether an... Read more
When the Supreme Court decided the Bilski case, it didn't speak directly to the issue of software patents. But the Bilski majority emphasized that abstract ideas are not patentable, and recognized that allowing patents for abstract ideas could hinder innovation. Thus there's still room for... Read more
Eben Moglen's keynote address at LinuxCon last week, "Doing What it Takes: Current Legal Issues in Defending FOSS," called for a strategic shift in the free software movement. Moglen, the founding director of the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) and one of the principal drafters of the GPLv3,... Read more
Recently the NZ govt announced that it was to remove software from the list of items that can be patented. This decision came after hectic lobbying from the open source community on one side and the proprietary vendors on the other side.
The Supreme Court case of Bilski v Kappos was billed as a case over business methods, but at its core it was over an application for a patent on software, and the denial of that application sets a good example that may lead to the denial of other software patents.
The Supreme Court finally issued a decision in the Bilski case today [PDF]. For those troubled by the problems surrounding software patents, the opinion will be disappointing, because it does not resolve those problems. But it would be a mistake to view the opinion as a victory for the proponents... Read more
One of the most important aspects of the recent trial victory for Red Hat and Novell was a finding that the asserted patent claims were invalid. This meant that the jury was persuaded by clear and convincing evidence that the patents were improperly granted. Getting to this decision involved... Read more