Supreme Court

Technology companies ask Supreme Court to reject vague patents

will invalidating patents get easier?

You’ve probably realized this by now, but the Supreme Court is having a very busy term when it comes to patent cases. In Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc.—scheduled for oral argument on April 28—the Court will consider whether to hold vague patents to a more exacting standard. » Read more

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The Supreme Court jumps into the software patent thicket

peering into the patent haze

Software patent thickets are often compared to minefields, but with a note of resignation, as though there’s no avoiding them. The U.S. Supreme Court now has before it a case that could go a long way towards addressing the litigation risks and business uncertainties created by software patents. The case is Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, and the issue is whether claims to computer-implemented inventions are eligible for patents. » Read more

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Judges split on software patents and computer transubstantiation

Software patents: a note on the new CLS Bank case

The law of software patents took an interesting, and ultimately encouraging, turn a little more than a week ago. In the CLS Bank case, ten judges of the Federal Circuit issued five separate opinions, without any single legal theory gaining a majority. Their debate showed that the scope of the subject matter requirement for patenting software is far from settled. It also makes it more likely that the Supreme Court will speak to the issue, and get it right.

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Supreme Court orders reconsideration of breast cancer gene patent decision

Yesterday, the Supreme Court vacated Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics and remanded the case for further consideration in light of last week's Prometheus decision, which stated that the laws of nature are unpatentable. The Myriad case concerns the patentability of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 breast cancer genes. » Read more

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Prometheus bound: An important precedent for the next software patent case

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court’s new opinion on patent eligibility is an important step in the right direction in addressing the problem of software patents. It shows that the Court is mindful of the risks that patents can hold for innovation, and will provide a useful precedent for the next big software patents case.  » Read more

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The Supreme Court's Golan decision gives short shrift to the public domain

The Supreme Court's Golan decision gives short shrift to the public domain

In a decision that favored the 1% (copyright owners) over the 99% (consumers and the public domain), the U.S. Supreme Court recently held that neither the Patent and Copyright Clause of the U.S. Constitution nor the First Amendment prohibits the removal of works from the public domain. Golan v. Holder, No. 10-545. Prior blog coverage of the case: certiorari granted and the 10th Circuit opinion. » Read more

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Bilski's growing up, and smacking down some bad software patents

When the Supreme Court declined to speak to software patenting in the Bilski case, there was wailing and gnashing of teeth in the open source software world. The new Bilski test for patentable subject matter looked at first like the status quo for software patentability. But, being the sort of person who tries to check clouds for a possible silver lining, I noted a possibility that courts and the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences would read the test to invalidate some software patents. Later I noted that there were a number of early decisions finding software unpatentable. » Read more

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A possible game changer for invalidating bad software patents

A case now before the Supreme Court could lower the threat level created by bad patents in a meaningful way. The issue before the Court is whether to change the burden of proof on patent invalidity from clear-and-convincing evidence to the preponderance standard. This change would be good for free and open source software. » Read more

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Open*Law: 2010 in review

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 patents owned by "non-practicing entities." Rob Tiller's post on it, Total victory for open source software in a patent lawsuit, was the top article across opensource.com for the year. » Read more

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The PTO addresses Bilski and software patents

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 discussion of the legal standard for when, if ever, there should be patents on software.  » Read more

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