Weekend Watching: Patent Absurdity - How Software Patents Broke the SystemSubmitted by Michael Nystrom on Fri, 05/14/2010 - 10:40
If the video below does not load, watch it here:
Key points to keep in mind here is:
- Software patents are being used as weapons in corporate warfare
- The Federal Government is handing out the patents
- Software patents are killing innovation, not encouraging it
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
The Supreme's decision on this will be huge.
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court gave a skeptical and at times scornful reception to arguments that there should be broader patent protection for "business methods," which several justices suggested did little to spur the technological progress that patent laws were intended to promote.
At arguments Monday, several justices seemed almost contemptuous toward patents for financial strategies, risk management or teaching methods, which they contrasted with inventions such as the telephone or Morse Code that an inventor might devise in a laboratory.
That boded ill for Bernard Bilski and Rand Warsaw, who are seeking to patent a method for hedging risk in commodities trading due to fluctuations in the weather. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected their application, a decision upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
That court held that to be patentable, a business method must be "tied to a particular machine or apparatus" or transform "a particular article into a different state or thing."
The Supreme Court agreed to review that decision. But instead of reconsidering whether the Bilski method should be patented, several justices seemed concerned that the Federal Circuit hadn't gone far enough to block inappropriate patents.
The lower court had left open the question of whether the same steps Messrs. Bilski and Warsaw proposed might be patentable if they were framed as software rather than a series of equations.
"That's just saying instead of looking in the Yellow Pages, you look on the computer; and that makes all the difference," said Chief Justice John Roberts.