software patents - Page number 3

Why the patent system doesn't play well with software: If Eolas went the other way

Why the patent system doesn't play well with software: If Eolas went the other

Everyone take a deep breath: it seems we've had a moment of sanity in the patent wars. Last week, a jury invalidated the dangerous Eolas patents, which their owner claimed covered, well, essentially the whole Internet. The patents were originally granted for an invention that helped doctors to view images of embryos over the early web. A few years later, smelling quick cash, their owner insisted that it had a veto right on any mechanism used to embed an object in a web document. Really? The patents are obvious—both now in 2012 and back in 1994, when the first one was filed. Thankfully, a jury realized that and did what should have happened years ago: it invalidated these dangerous patents. » Read more

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Crushed innovation: When patent lawyers switch to NPEs

Crushed innovation: When patent lawyers switch to NPEs

When well-known, richly compensated patent lawyers switch from representing world-class tech companies to servicing "non-practicing entities," something's up. Could the sordidness of a business based on bringing patent lawsuits be outweighed by large amounts of cash? At least for some, apparently yes. » Read more

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Patent reform and patent totalitarianism

Patent reform and patent totalitarianism

Touted as the most extensive revision of the patent law since 1952, the America Invents Act of 2011 was signed by the President on September 16. You might think in light of the celebration and rhetoric, that the Act was tackling the big problems such as patent trolls, broad and abstract patents, the billions squandered in the smartphone wars, or opportunistic litigation against users. You might think that. But you would be wrong. » Read more

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If we're going to have software patents, let's at least have a level playing field

If we must have software patents, at least use the same rules

Last week, I participated in a panel discussion at the Eastern District of Texas/Federal Circuit Joint Bench-Bar Conference in Dallas.  The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is the specialized appellate court for patent cases.  My panel was on corporate counsel opinions of patent litigation and recent judicial and legislative patent reform.  The discussion was moderated by Judge Richard Linn of the Federal Circuit.  It was a great opportunity to present some views of the patent system, and to provide options for improvement to the very people who can enact judicial change. » Read more

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The huge societal costs of NPE software patent lawsuits

Ginormous losses from NPE software patent lawsuits

Innovative software companies start each work day knowing that, no matter how careful and how ethical they are, they face a meaningful risk of being sued for patent infringement. It's like a tooth ache – painful and distracting, even when not debilitating. A major source of this pain is non-practicing entities (NPEs), which are expert at acquiring and exploiting weak software patents. While this is not hot news to the open source community, the enormous financial harm caused by NPEs is just starting to be understood. » Read more

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New patent reform law could reduce lawsuits by non-practicing entities

New patent reform law could reduce lawsuits by non-practicing entity

The Hidden Gem in the Bill:  Joinder Reform

So it has finally happened: a patent reform bill has actually become law. Last Thursday, the U.S. Senate voted 89-9 to send H.R. 1249 to the White House, where it was signed into law today.  While I have pointed out in the past that this bill misses out on several aspects of reform that previous bills attempted, it does include some useful aspects.

First, though, let’s discuss what the new law will NOT include. » Read more

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Maddog, Moglen, and Frye: Icons of the Linux community discuss their first twenty years with Linux and its future

In the afternoon keynotes of the first day of LinuxCon, Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin sat down to talk about the twentieth anniversary of Linux with Jon "Maddog" Hall, Eben Moglen, and Dan Frye, or as Zemlin called them, The Godfather, The Lawyer, and The Suit. » Read more

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Speaking of software patents

The software patent debate sometimes seems awfully one-sided. Passionate opponents carefully explain that software patents hinder innovation and supporters of the status quo ignore their arguments. Meanwhile, vast sums of money that could be used for innovation are diverted by patent lawsuits of competitors seeking to block other competitors and of non-practicing entities exploiting the system. The open source community generally gets this, but much of the citizenry has no inkling that there's even a controversy. » Read more

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Poll: Why hasn't patent reform become a bigger political issue?

With a recent op-ed in the Economist and a segment on NPR's Planet Money, it seems as if an awareness of the high cost of the outmoded, traditional patent system is finally creeping into the mainstream.

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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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