22 July 2008

The Death of US Software Patents?

That seems to be the conclusion in this amazing posting by John F. Duffy on the Patently O patent law blog:

The Patent and Trademark Office has now made clear that its newly developed position on patentable subject matter will invalidate many and perhaps most software patents, including pioneering patent claims to such innovators as Google, Inc.

...

The logic of the PTO’s positions in Nuijten, Comiskey and Bilski has always threatened to destabilize whole fields of patenting, most especially in the field of software patents. If the PTO’s test is followed, the crucial question for the vitality of patents on computer implemented inventions is whether a general purpose computer qualifies as a “particular” machine within the meaning of the agency’s test. In two recent decisions announced after the oral arguments in the Bilski case, Ex parte Langemyr (May 28, 2008) and Ex parte Wasynczuk (June 2, 2008), the PTO Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences has now supplied an answer to that question: A general purpose computer is not a particular machine, and thus innovative software processes are unpatentable if they are tied only to a general purpose computer.

Wow. It's probably a little early to break out the virtual champagne, but here's hoping....

Update: The ever-dependable Mike Masnick picks apart the story here, which is not all it seems, alas....

2 comments:

Thomas said...

please, please, please, please, please, please please, please...

glyn moody said...

I know, I know....