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Patents Software

Open Source Initiative, Free Software Foundation Unite Against Software Patents 105

WebMink writes "In rare joint move, the OSI and FSF have joined with Eben Moglen's Software Freedom Law Center to file a U.S. Supreme Court briefing in the CLS vs Alice case. The brief asserts the basic arguments that processes are not patentable if they are implemented solely through computer software, and that the best test for whether a software-implemented invention is solely implemented through software is whether special apparatus or the transformation of matter have been presented as part of the claims (the 'machine or transformation' test). They assert that finding software-only inventions unpatentable will not imperil the pace of software innovation, citing the overwhelming success of open source in the software industry as proof."
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Open Source Initiative, Free Software Foundation Unite Against Software Patents

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  • by king neckbeard ( 1801738 ) on Friday February 28, 2014 @04:20PM (#46370227)
    Throwing a computer into an otherwise patentable process won't make it unpatentable, see Diamond v. Diehr. The concern is whether something that has no substantial steps outside of a computer can be patentable. I would say that the answer is no, since software could theoretically 'run' on any Turing Complete machine (ignoring the infinite memory stuff), and the human mind can operate in that way. Operations of the human mind are mental processes, and have been explicitly ruled not patentable.
  • by almechist ( 1366403 ) on Friday February 28, 2014 @05:09PM (#46370635)
    I think a better example of how unnecessary software patents are is to look at the period known sometimes referred to as "the PC Revolution". Virtually all the software written in the early days of personal computing (Apple II, IBM PC, TRS-80, etc...) was not patented, in fact it was believed by most programmers at the time that software just wasn't patentable. And yet that period saw unfettered innovation in software, I will cite the invention of the spreadsheet as just one example. Nobody in the industry worried about patents, everybody made money, and innovation soared. What better proof is there that software patents are not only not needed, but in practice actually suppress innovation?

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