CAFC Judge Regrets Decisions That Resulted In Software Patents

from the so-many-regrets dept

As the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) is considering the Bilski case, where it may finally push back on software and business model patents, it's interesting to hear one of CAFC's judges admit that he was "troubled by the unintended consequences" of the lawsuits (State Street and AT&T) that resulted in software and business model patents being effectively allowed. While it's nice to see Judge Plager worried about this now (just as the CAFC may finally change it), it's a bit of a stretch to claim that the consequences were somehow unintended. There was plenty of discussion around the time of the State Street case concerning what the end result would be if these types of patents were allowed. It's just that too many people seem to think that a change that increases patent coverage couldn't possibly have a negative impact -- despite tons of evidence to the contrary. Hopefully the next time an effort is underway to widen or strengthen patent law, people will look at what a disaster the past four years have been and recognize that expanding patentability is not something that should be done lightly.

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  1. identicon
    Joseph Wills, 29 Jul 2008 @ 1:09pm

    Re: Re:

    Doing away with the ability to patent software would absolutely limit the number of people who continued designing new programs . . .

    As a software developer for over 25 years, I have to disagree with you there, bucko. You obviously don't work in the commercial software field. I've worked for a number of commercial software companies, and patenting software was never even a consideration. That is, until Amazon came along.

    . . . it is IMPOSSIBLE to show evidence of what they prevented someone from coming up with . . .

    That's not the argument, so please stop arguing that point. Nobody said anything about "preventing" someone from coming up with something. But it does block the innovation of using something obvious (that was nevertheless granted a patent) in conjunction with some other idea. For proof, see NTP vs RIM.

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