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Patents Software The Courts

Appeals Court Makes It Easier To Dump Software Patents 109

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the your-thoughts-are-infringing dept.
An anonymous reader writes "While software patents are still legal, it appears that the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, sometimes known as the nation's 'patent court' has just made a decision that will make it much easier to reject software patents for being mere 'mental processes'" rather than an actual invention. This could allow the Patent Office and the courts to reject many software patents."
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Appeals Court Makes It Easier To Dump Software Patents

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  • Fixing the symptom (Score:4, Interesting)

    by afidel (530433) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @02:32PM (#37133488)
    Isn't this trying to fix a broken process by fixing the symptom rather than the cause of the problem? I mean wasn't it just this week that we noticed that the last million patents were granted in 5 years versus the 80 it took for the first million? There's not that much more innovation going on today, we just have more patent abuse going on. Perhaps we need to have a higher fee for patents held by someone other than that original assignees, say $5k per year, this way small inventors don't get hosed, corporations are more willing to give up unneeded patents and will file fewer applications, and the patent office will have more funds to properly vet applications instead of throwing up their hands and rubber stamping everything and letting the courts sort it out.
    • To be honest, doing application in traditional tech fields, mostly metallurgy, casting, automobile tech, most of the stuff I do in the US leaves me with the impression that the USPTO is going by a deny first - ask questions later strategy. You might want to find real points to criticize - perhaps start with the retarded common law system...
      • by poetmatt (793785)

        However, guess when these denials don't happen first?

        When it's expedited requests.

        • Haven't made enough of those to really give you an answer here - but our archive should give me a somewhat significant sample. I'll see if I can spot a pattern there, but honestly, I don't believe it. Personally, I get my stuff approved in Europe faster than in the US. Except for computer based stuff, which usually gets smacked hard in Europe - but such applications I usually only see coming from the US to be filed in Europe, so I can't really comment on the granting practices in the US in that field. I jus
          • by HiThere (15173)

            Maybe it's only rubber stamping things filed by US companies? Whatever the reason there are HUGE numbers of totally silly, obvious, or clearly invalid patents granted. And it costs millions of $ to fight each one through in court to invalidate it, *IF* you dare take the risk.

            • by geekoid (135745)

              Or maybe you are wrong.

              There are not "HUGE numbers of totally silly, obvious, or clearly invalid patents granted."

              there are, however, HUGE numbers of totally silly, obvious, or clearly ignorant people on slashdot who wrap their whole patent opinion on head lines and sensational stories.

              • by poetmatt (793785)

                Wha? Bilski and other cases have resulted from a far too relaxed view on patentability. Clearly invalid, obvious patents have indeed been granted due to not being specific enough. That was clarified again by the federal circuit. [groklaw.net] Long story short, too much has been patented on things that are not patentable.

                • Ask a patent examiner next time you think you've spotted one online (beware, they are usually friendly and considerate) how many of the hundreds of public open source lines of code they have carefully reviewed as part of their preparation to judging novelty and obviousness in the patents they go through daily.

                  Do not be shocked if the person replies 0.

                  Do not be shocked if the next "software patent" they pass overlaps with the state of the art.

                  However, should they get lucky, do not be upset at them if the nex

              • by Jose_X (2441924)

                >> There are not "HUGE numbers of totally silly, obvious, or clearly invalid patents granted."

                Before I consider how much lol to exert, I will need more information.

                I am one who thinks that the inventiveness bar for being granted a US patent (35 USC 103),

                NON-OBVIOUS ..

                [kinda like that homework assignment in that tough class your taking this semester: it's really "non-obvious"]

                to a person having ..

                ORDINARY ..

                [you know, like "average" and "unspectacular"]

                skill in the art,

                is

                a) ever so slightly
                b) somewha

    • Isn't this trying to fix a broken process by fixing the symptom rather than the cause of the problem?

      Yes, though I would argue that any improvement is a good thing. This potentially significantly lowers the standard of proof needed to get a patent thrown out which means they are then less likely to be used as a threat. A patent that is not a credible threat is much less worrisome. It doesn't solve the legal cost issue but it might very well keep some legal threats from being made in the first place.

    • by gman003 (1693318)

      The process is broken because the two organizations are working at opposing ends. The USPTO is trying to clear out a (significant) backlog by approving pretty much everything, rationalizing that "the courts will clear out any bad patents". Meanwhile, the courts are thinking "you know, we really don't know much about science, we should probably step back and let the experts at the USPTO make the calls".

      Naturally, that lead to a metric shitload of bad patents being granted and enforced. Which triggered far mo

      • In my experience shitloads are always using the imperial measurement scale.

        I agree with your post though, in general I don't think anyone wants to be the one to invalidate thousands of patents held by Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM etc. Huge political fallout: "Oh you are ruining american competitivieness, etc etc". Imagine the dreamland that people wish to live in where you can export all the manufacturing to the developing countries and keep all the patents, trademarks etc in the US. Oh crap you mean all

    • There's not that much more innovation going on today [Citation Needed]

      15 years ago when I was in college...
      Classes were done with either Black/White Boards or Over Head projectors with a clear film and a Dry Erase marker.
      They were computer generated projectors available but they were very expensive and not widely used.
      In college I was one of the few students to get a Cell Phone. Most students didn't have one and they relied on a Phone Plugged into a phone system. My Moderns small form factor phone was abo

      • by BenoitRen (998927)

        To me all of that sounds like improvements in existing technology rather than innovation. CPUs got faster, mobile phones got smaller, etc.

        • To me all of that sounds like improvements in existing technology rather than innovation. CPUs got faster, mobile phones got smaller, etc.

          And a car is just a wagon without a horse. It is amazing how simple and obvious everything is if you state it in simple and obvious terms.

          Why is it that CPUs got faster? They didn't just deliberately make the chips slower 15 years ago so that they could sell you a faster version every year. No, there were physical limitations that needed to be worked around. New techniques needed to be invented to reduce the power requirements and crosstalk within the chips. New manufacturing processes and materials were re

        • by geekoid (135745)

          sigh..

          Innovation:
          1. something new or different introduced: numerous innovations in the high-school curriculum.
          2. the act of innovating; introduction of new things or methods.

          innovate [in-uh-veyt] Show IPA verb, -vated, -vating.
          verb (used without object)
          1.to introduce something new; make changes in anything established.
          verb (used with object)
          2.to introduce (something new) for or as if for the first time: to innovate a computer operating system.
          3.Archaic . to alter.

          Why people on slashdot can't grok what inn

      • by sjames (1099)

        Now compare USA in 1776 - 1856. Not that much improvements in technology, yes there were improvements but not as much in that 80 years as we would notice in the last 15 years.

        You mean other than the submarine, the steamship, the hot air balloon (human flight!), lithography, the battery, the cotton gin, powered spinning, and the Jacquard Loom. Gas lighting, the arc lamp, the tin can, the preserving jar, the steam locomotive, the miner's lamp, photography, the spectroscope portland cement, Braille, the typewriter, the sewing machine, the electric dynamo, the telegraph, vulcanized rubber, anesthesia, the smallpox vaccine, the facsimile machine (sort of a primitive fax that worked

        • by ppanon (16583)
          Sure, but many or most of those inventions you listed were made in Europe. The US was primarily an agrarian nation for most of the time range you quoted, whereas Europe had more urban areas, denser population which made communications easier/faster, and a class system that made it easier for the upper classes to study and research. Of course a meritocracy has important advantages over a class system, but these are less significant in an agrarian society, Having >80% of your population toiling on farms te
          • by sjames (1099)

            Some were invented in Europe, some in the U.S. However, they were nevertheless technological improvements actually seen and enjoyed in the U.S. In many cases, things actually invented elsewhere saw their first wide deployment in the U.S. with a great many incremental improvements in the process. Many of the incremental improvements we see today happen in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.

            The next 80 years saw a lot more invention in the U.S. It should be no surprise that the pace of invention was slow for a while, t

            • by ppanon (16583)

              The next 80 years saw a lot more invention in the U.S. It should be no surprise that the pace of invention was slow for a while, there was a significant upheaval involved in the Revolutionary War and in forming a new country after.

              Sure, but a big part of that is that the industrial revolution finally made it across the ocean a few decades after it really got going in England and France. You need industrialization to provide force multiplication to the farmers, free up agrarian population for the growth of c

              • by sjames (1099)

                Yes, in the next 80 year period, the U.S. transitioned to a strong industrial economy and started originating a lot more of the breakthroughs and innovations. We went from telegraph to telephone and radio. We got electric lighting and powered flight. The phonograph and moving pictures became common forms of entertainment. People traded horses for cars. The assembly line was invented. Essentially, the world transitioned to a form we would basically recognize today.

                In spite of those massive changes, we did NO

      • I would recommend the book "math you can't use" for a thorough and useful discussion of the problems with software patents. The FSF has many good things to say on the issue.
    • by crutchy (1949900)
      Re: "Perhaps we need to have a higher fee for patents held by someone other than that original assignees, say $5k per year, this way small inventors don't get hosed, corporations are more willing to give up unneeded patents and will file fewer applications"... you are not serious are you? The small inventors have enough trouble getting funding for real R&D and patent applications, and $5k/year is peanuts to those who are abusing the system (big corporate). Charge more and you'll lock small inventors out
      • by afidel (530433)
        Did you miss where I said for those who are not the assignees? If you are the inventor and you haven't sold your patent you pay the small fee applicable today, if you're a corporation holding a patent or a patent troll hoarding a bunch of patents in the hopes that you can submarine one then you pay the higher fee. Motorola Mobile has 17,000 patents, that would be $85M/year which would be a non-trivial expense and I would be willing to bet they'd give up a lot of them that weren't worth the $5k/year to have
        • by geekoid (135745)

          I like your idea; however if implemented, I would like to see the addition fees you pay, 7.5 yeas, and then again at 11.5 years, be reduced. right now they are about 2000 and 4000 respectively.

          • by Thing 1 (178996)

            The annual price for registering the patent should double every year. Either the company is making enough money from it that they can afford the "tax", or they aren't, and they give the patent to the public domain so that everyone can benefit from the innovation.

            I remember seeing a patent on "using a laser pointer as a cat entertainment device", and I think it's really funny that someone went to that length; with a low entry fee, we might see many silly patents -- however, they would likely only last a s

        • by crutchy (1949900)
          a patent is a patent. if the original assignee sells a patent, then the new owner has paid for all the priveliges of the original assignee. should someone who builds a house pay less annual rates than someone who buys a house? while i can understand where you're coming from with your idea, it seems a bit descriminatory and anti-competitive, and if the costs are higher for someone who buys a patent, that buyer will either/both expect to pay slightly less for it in the first place because the cost to benefit
    • by mysidia (191772) *

      Perhaps we need to have a higher fee for patents held by someone other than that original assignees, say $5k per year,

      How about... start it off at $2000 a year after the date of the original application for patent, and for any year that anyone other than the original assignee holds the patent have a per year scaled cost cost based on number of years since the patent application, to reflect the increased cost to society of tying up that past invention from use by new inventors. The invention must be

    • Generally prefer incremental changes and improvements over major overhauls. In this case however I am inclined to agree with what I take as the spirit of your argument. Currently I see fixing the patent system as a real possibility, partly because many of the patents existing are so ridiculous and bizarre that they attract the attention and ire of even less technical and less informed members of the public, business, and government. If the system were to be so reformed that only sufficiently complex 'busine
  • Irrational ruling (Score:4, Interesting)

    by macraig (621737) <mark.a.craig@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday August 18, 2011 @02:32PM (#37133494)

    Too bad the submitter didn't read the ARSTechnica article [arstechnica.com] about the same ruling; it was a more impartial analysis and demonstrated how, even though the ruling appears to favor the ultimate abolition of software patents, it's such an illogical ruling that it probably won't really help to serve that purpose, other than perhaps persuading other courts to think more critically about software patents. "Unless it's too complicated for a human to do the math"? Good grief.

    • by macraig (621737)

      Yeah, yeah, so TFS did link to the ARSTechnica article and I didn't notice it. My point, per my comment's title, is still the same; by itself, as a legal precedent for eliminating software patents, this ruling is useless because of the gaping irrational exception the ruling allowed. The summary ignored that aspect in favor of confirmation bias.

    • by SLi (132609)

      It's nowhere near as confused as the ruling by a UK top court a few years ago about software patents.

      A traditional argument for software patents has been that "look, it does have a physical effect - it makes electrons move in a certain way". The UK court ruled that algorithms are not patentable, unless the algorithm in question has an effect on the computer that makes it "a better computer", such as by "making more memory available for programs" or "making it run faster". Now I'm actually convinced that it

      • by macraig (621737)

        It's sad that courts feel this need to qualify their rulings in such a ridiculous fashion, and ruin their value in the process. Do they fear the corporate and political party lynch mobs, or do they really lack confidence in the substance of the rulings themselves?

        • by rmstar (114746)

          It's sad that courts feel this need to qualify their rulings in such a ridiculous fashion, and ruin their value in the process. Do they fear the corporate and political party lynch mobs, or do they really lack confidence in the substance of the rulings themselves?

          Don't be too sad. I think most judges do not really understand the issues, so are ruling from their interpretation of text of law and a more or less vague idea of what is going on. This isn't really their fault, as they are not programmers and soft

    • Too bad the submitter didn't read the ARSTechnica article [arstechnica.com] about the same ruling; it was a more impartial analysis and demonstrated how, even though the ruling appears to favor the ultimate abolition of software patents, it's such an illogical ruling that it probably won't really help to serve that purpose, other than perhaps persuading other courts to think more critically about software patents. "Unless it's too complicated for a human to do the math"? Good grief.

      It also directly goes against In re Beauregard.

    • "Unless it's too complicated for a human to do the math"? Good grief.

      Yep, we're back to square one. All that will happen now is that patent applications will include bloated calculations to pass the "too complicated for a human" math test. They won't actually be necessary for anything except printing more money...err...getting the math patent approved.

      It's good to see that our judiciary is stuffed with people who utterly fail at basic literacy.

      • by martyros (588782)

        Yep, we're back to square one. All that will happen now is that patent applications will include bloated calculations to pass the "too complicated for a human" math test. They won't actually be necessary for anything except printing more money...err...getting the math patent approved.

        But surely that would make an easy defense against infringement? "Ladies and gentelmen the jury, consider the math in the equation in the patent: [Wild gibberish including lots of greek symbols, imaginary numbers, and infinite

  • Anything that helps reduce the # of bad patents helps here.

    The Bottomline is any start up in the tech sector is going to face so much pressure from patent holders it clearly had a chilling effect on real innovation.

  • Does that qualifies? [slashdot.org]

    Anyway I look at the Apple's patent, it is a plain good engineering in response to market's demands. Not something I would call an invention or an innovation.

    • ...it is a plain good engineering in response to market's demands. Not something I would call an invention or an innovation.

      I would say the opposite, actually :) .

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Then maybe you should get a dictionary:
      innovate [in-uh-veyt] Show IPA verb, -vated, -vating.
      verb (used without object)
      1.to introduce something new; make changes in anything established.
      verb (used with object)
      2.to introduce (something new) for or as if for the first time: to innovate a computer operating system.
      3.Archaic . to alter.

  • Having an actual patent court staffed by judges who are dedicated to patent law and nothing else and cutting out juries (who don't know anything about patent law) like they do in the UK would be a great step forward.

    • Re:Patent Court (Score:4, Informative)

      by WebManWalking (1225366) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @02:52PM (#37133836)
      As for cutting out juries, no can do, at least not in the US. From http://www.house.gov/house/Constitution/Amend.html [house.gov] here's the 7th amendment, in its entirety:
      • In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
      • by Ecuador (740021)

        You are suggesting that we can't do something in the US due to the Constitution?
        What you are saying would be very funny if it was not dreadfully tragic...

      • Are those 20 dollars adjusted by inflation? Because 20 dollars would buy a hell of a lot more stuff in in 1776 than it would in 2010.

        The relative worth of $20.00 from 1776 is [goo.gl]
        $515.00 using the Consumer Price Index
        $10,500.00 using the unskilled wage index

      • by shentino (1139071)

        What would help is not letting lawyers give wiseass patent experts the boot during voir dire.

        It seems like lawyers know damn well enough about their own bullshit that they WANT juries to be dumb and impressionable.

    • I'm not so sure about that. Specialists in patent law tend to be pro-patent, likes GIles Sutherland Rich, who is the one that ruled on In Re Allapat and State Street. The best track record of a recent high judge on such matters seems to me to be John Paul Stevens, whose early background was antitrust, a field that tends to not be fond of legal monopolies like patents and copyright.
  • The problem isn't software patents, the problem is lousy patents. There are just as many lousy business practice, gene and physical patents as there are lousy software patents, and there are perfectly valid ones of each type.

    (And, yes, I know that /.'s knee jerk reaction to software patents is a pathological "patents bad!", but there are vanishingly few people on here who seem to understand how patents actually work, how to read them, and how to understand what is covered.)

    All invention is a mental process.

    • If you said "4 colors is not always enough to color a map [wikipedia.org]", but refused to give an example that took more than 4, then I would not be convinced.

      If you say that not all software patents are bad, just most, but fail to give an example, then I'm not convinced either.

      • by martyros (588782)

        If you say that not all software patents are bad, just most, but fail to give an example, then I'm not convinced either.

        The original mp3 audio compression technique represented a non-negligible investment of R&D time and dollars to invent. But once known, it was easy to copy.

        The whole point of the patent system is to allow a companies that invest in R&D to be able to recoup that investment.

    • by plankrwf (929870)

      --The problem isn't software patents, the problem is lousy patents.
      --There are just as many lousy business practice, gene and physical patents as there are lousy software patents,
      --and there are perfectly valid ones of each type.

      Pitty slashdot is not Wikipedia, or else I would have thrown in {citation needed} at that last line.

      Kind regards,

      Roel

    • by vux984 (928602)

      I see Invention is 2 separate steps:

      1) Identifying a need
      2) Answering that need with an invention.

      A patent should be a non-trivial / non-obvious response for step TWO.

      What I see is a lot of people conflating the difficulty answering the need vs having the spark of genius to identify it in the first place.

      A lot of patents are really obvious answers to questions that no one had thought to ask yet.

      The little tripod/table thing to keep cheese getting stuck to the lid of a pizza box is an obvious solution to the

    • by JimFive (1064958)

      All invention is a mental process.

      No it's not. Edison didn't just think, "Hey, I could put a filament in a jar and run electricity through it to make it glow" and patent that. He actually did the work to make a light bulb, and it took a lot of trial and error. It was not just a mental process, but a physical process.

      Most ideas are obvious is retrospect to people who are experts in a field, but its a fallacy to believe it was obvious to those same people BEFORE they saw it.

      The idea isn't at issue, the implementation is. Obvious, as related to patents, should mean that, given a statement of a problem, an expert in the field would come up with a substantially similar solution. While it is true

      • by MrMatto (2429900)

        ... Edison didn't just think, "Hey, I could put a filament in a jar and run electricity through it to make it glow" and patent that. He actually did the work to make a light bulb, and it took a lot of trial and error. It was not just a mental process, but a physical process.

        Edison did not come up with that idea. He stole most of his "inventions" from other people and claimed them for himself. http://www.enchantedlearning.com/inventors/edison/lightbulb.shtml [enchantedlearning.com]

    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      All invention is a mental process.

      All invention(verb) is a mental process. Not all inventions(noun) are mental processes.

      This is the very similar to the difference between something that can be described by math (the parabolic path of a thrown baseball), and things that are math (the actual math of the parabola, as expressed in a symbolic language).

      Software is math. Software is a mental process. Software patents are patents on math. Software patents are in fact the problem.

      Lousy non-software patents are also a problem, but a different o

    • by russotto (537200)

      but there are vanishingly few people on here who seem to understand how patents actually work, how to read them, and how to understand what is covered.

      No, it's the pro-patent side who misunderstands how patents actually work. They think that just because a claim can be interpreted narrowly, that it will be interpreted narrowly. In fact claims are interpreted broadly, and prior art narrowly.

      Most ideas are obvious is retrospect to people who are experts in a field, but its a fallacy to believe it was obviou

    • by WorBlux (1751716)
      Being the first to market is a pretty big reward in itself, as is being the foremost expert on a technology. There is also the extra cost of a monopoly put on consumers, and cost of filing and litigation. All in all, it's not clear that patents create value, even if you limit the analysis to the better 20% of current patents.
  • If I patented "if then" logic lines, then I could sue the court for using my patented logic either way. Unless they generated randomized rulings. Which sometimes does appear to be the case. If on the other hand, I was issued a patent for a process of applying for patents, then I'd be protected from any other patent holder. The court needs to think very hard about applying patents to mental processes.
  • How do we mod up the Court of Appeals (+1 insightful)?

  • ... instead of making it easier to dump them, how about just making it mandatory?

    Software patents are an abomination, and should be eliminated wholesale... they are tantamount to patenting thought, however impractical it might be perceived to be to do such computations manually.

  • my thoughts are still my own ?
  • Rather than test for what can and can't be patented, I'd rather have a test for something that can't be subject to a patent.
    Suppose, for example, I could say "My software runs on hardware that existed before your patent was filed, and therefore my software doesn't violate your patent.".
    Then it would be possible for me to write software and be relatively certain it didn't violate any patents.

    See, I don't want to invalidate your stupid patent, I want to avoid being sued.
    I only decide to invalidate it after y

  • What they do is logical in the same way. A person can mentally walk the steps to evaluate signals going into and out of digital and analog circuits. Does this mean we actually need to apply copyright law to circuits as I suspect? What about the past 100 years of electronics cases using patent law, I doubt the courts would be so willing to go so far even if it is the logical conclusion.

    An circuit is something physical but what it does is a mental process although it does it very fast. But if tangibility

    • by WorBlux (1751716)
      I believe circuit layouts weren't protected for a long time but now use a grant similar to copyright. Chip designers would embed trademarks into the silicon, so that any 1:1 copy could be trademark infringement, and patent various aspects of operation (still do for the most part).The main difference here though is that although circuits can be described mathematically, they aren't actually math.
  • Hurrah for the great idea, but anything that shuts down software patents would cripple the economy.

    Here, read this. [techcrunch.com]

    Google gets hit with a few patent lawsuits over Android, so it responds with the $12.5B buyout of Motorola Mobility. And everyone knows why they did it. Patents. They have to make a proactive move to protect Android. So, how much of that value is in their patent portfolio? Now imagine that value suddenly going *poof* in a puff of logic. Now multiply that across every software company

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Yes, it might lower their stock value, but it will lower all of there stock value; assuming the market gives a crap.

      Having an inflated value vanish is normal economics.

      • Not on this scale. This would make the housing bubble look like a hiccup. Each company maintains a "war chest" of abusive patents. Motorola Mobile just got bought out at 63% higher than market value. [foxbusiness.com] at a sale price of $12.5 billion. And almost entirely for their patent portfolio to keep Android alive and viable. We all know that's the reason, even if Google is hedging the purchase in marketspeak.

        Now imagine you're a shareholder.

        Suddenly, the company you've invested in jumps for 63% over market val

        • by Agent0013 (828350)

          Each company maintains a "war chest" of abusive patents. Motorola Mobile just got bought out at 63% higher than market value. [foxbusiness.com] at a sale price of $12.5 billion.

          Suddenly, the company you've invested in jumps for 63% over market value due to their patent portfolio. Then along comes a new ruling and it is essentially worthless. Up 63%, then suddenly zero.

          See the problem yet?

          I don't understand why you don't see the problem with buying imaginary property for 12.5 billion. If you were a share holder of a company, would you rather they spend 12.5 billion on buying another company out so they can fight a money wasting lawsuit, or would you rather they innovate, create, and make money rather than send money to lawers. If all the companies lost their software patents, whatever drop in share price that occured would be even accross the board, unless the company is only a patent troll,

      • Yes, it might lower their stock value, but it will lower all of there stock value; assuming the market gives a crap.

        Having an inflated value vanish is normal economics.

        Not necessarily: abolishing software patents will reduce the value of some companies (that have a good warchest of such patents and a history of knowing how to use them to print money or quash competition) and increase the value of others (that do not have quite as good a warchest, or even if they do are vulnerable to patent trolls).

        Also, it would accelerate the growth of new, innovative companies, which would lead to overall economic growth.

        • I agree with you. In the long term abolishing software patents would stimulate economic growth. But you're going to have one hell of a bumpy ride getting there. In the short term it would be pretty disastrous.

          I'd like to see software patents go away. But just know that there will be a cost. It'll be a real nightmare at first. A lot of techies are going to suddenly be unemployed.

  • to cause massive chaos using the European Community Design patents... which are subject to no review at all when being granted, merely have the right forms been filled in in the correct manner... the referenced Community Design [scribd.com] being the one responsible for Samsung being blocked from selling their Galaxy items in Germany as they purportedly look like a thing thing with rounded corners that Apple have registered a community design for...
  • The idea that throwing out a "mental process" is an absurd metric. All software is the codification of a mental process and some definitions of an Algorithm are that they are so clearly defined that you can implement them with a pencil and paper. So those are bad rulers to measure the fitness of a software patent.

    The problem is to find how high the bar should be set for "mental processes" to be unique and new enough to have patent protection.

    Because of the speed of innovation, and such quick obsolecence, an

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