For those of you who love legal discussions and believe that Software Patents should be dissolved, here is some information I received today. NOTE – My posting of this information does not imply my agreement with nor disagreement with the concept; just found this interesting.
BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA — April 8, 2008 — End Software Patents (ESP) has filed an amicus curiae brief in the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s (CAFC) rehearing of the In re Bilski case. The rehearing could lead to the elimination of patents on software. ESP executive director Ben Klemens said, “This is an historic opportunity to fix the US patent system, as the Bilski rehearing will directly address the boundaries of the subject matter of patents. In our brief, the End Software Patents project supports the Supreme Court’s long-held position that computer software should not be patentable, and has highlighted to the Court the real economic harm software patents cause the US economy.”
ESP’s brief points out that these patents centered on claims over pure information. Under US law, pure information is not patentable. Further, the Supreme Court ruled three times that pure information does not necessarily become patentable when recited in combination with a physical object, such as information written to paper or loaded into a computer’s memory. However, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ignored the Supreme Court’s repeated rulings, and began allowing patents on information plus any physical component: a formula, if saved to a computer’s hard drive; a price list, if money is eventually moved; not a correlation, but the act of correlating. The ESP brief recommends re-establishing the Supreme Court’s rule that information should not be patentable, even when claimed in tandem with a physical afterthought.
In its review, the Federal Circuit rehearing of the In re Bilski case will address three issues essential to the patentability of software:
1. What standard should govern in determining whether a process is patent-eligible subject matter?
2. Is the claimed subject matter not patentable because it constitutes an abstract idea or mental process? When does a claim that contains both mental and physical steps create patent-eligible subject matter?
3. Must a method or process result in a physical transformation of an article or be tied to a machine to be patent-eligible subject matter?
ESP’s amicus brief can be found at http://endsoftpatents.org/bilski The rehearing will take place on Thursday May 8, 2008.
About End Software Patents
End Software Patents is a project formed to eliminate patents for software and other designs with no physically innovative step. It promotes a US technology-development environment which will drive innovation and growth in the global marketplace. End Software Patents receives sponsorship from the Free Software Foundation. For more information on participating in the project, or to access its knowledge base, please visit its website at http://endsoftpatents.org Media Contacts
End Software Patents