Software Patents On The Ropes In SCOTUS

When the Supremes beat the patent-troll over the head with obviousness and lack of novelty, we can expect that they will shoot him down.
“JUSTICE KENNEDY: Well, let me put it this way. If you describe that to a second­ year college class in engineering and said here’s ­­ here’s my idea, now you go home and you program over this weekend, my guess is that that would be fairly easy to program.

So the fact that the computer is involved, it seems to me, is necessary to make it work. But the innovative aspect is certainly not in the creation of the program to make that work. All you’re talking about is ­­ if I can use the word ­­ an “idea.””

What Justice Kennedy is going on about is that with just the idea, anyone reasonably skilled could solve the problem without referring to any software or patent-application. That’s sort of what I have been harping about for years now. Putting anything into a computer does not add any novelty or creativity. It’s logic, maths, language… not invention. Hence, software is not patentable. It’s a writing after all, something you claim copyright, not letters patent.

See Oral Argument – ALICE CORPORATION PTY. LTD. Petitioners, No. 13­298 v. CLS BANK INTERNATIONAL, ET AL..

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.

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5 Responses to Software Patents On The Ropes In SCOTUS

  1. Software patents are an abomination, a bad idea from the start, and the people who file them are pure evil. The free world wants the Linux (not GNU/Linux) operating system and open source software (not free software) to rule the universe, and the sooner patent trolls like Microsoft are eliminated from the world, the better off we all will be.

  2. dougman says:

    Since all ideas come from “source”, you should give it all away.

    Linus and Tim-Berners Lee did.

  3. wolfgang wrote, “you correct that copyright apply”.

    I noticed the patent trolls told the court that they had no copyright because they had not even bothered to write the code… There’s the rub. Patents are supposed to be issued to protect the embodiment of an improved technology. In this case there was no embodiment. The trolls are dead in the water. Software patents have only one oar left, that IBM and the like are desperately trying to dodge trolls while keeping patents alive. Patents are an ancient idea from the time of hand-made machines. They have no place in a world of automatic code generation and making millions of copies per day. The whole cost of production can be recovered in days, not years, so no protection is required.

    Patents are supposed to protect creative people for the investment of months/years of their time to bring new technology to market. The trolls had to admit to the court that their “invention” could probably be brought to fruition over a weekend of Coketm and pizza given only an idea as a starting point. The world should not owe those guys a living for decades for working hard one weekend.

  4. oiaohm says:

    wolfgang the problem with patented is the fact that if one key point of the patent is not done the patent does not apply.

    There are many ways to loop hole patents. Problem is not that patents cannot be worked around its the cost you will spend in court proving that the work around is legal.

    Reimplementation of software rarely is identical.

  5. wolfgang says:

    …software not patentable…

    no one here saying it is. company want to patent business method. say is process, not idea. patent applies to what software does, not to software itself. you correct that copyright apply. without patent software can be duplicated by anyone with talent, but if method patented, then cannot use own software either.

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