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Old 06-19-2014, 11:30 AM   #1
jeremy
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Supreme Court rules software patents that cover 'abstract ideas' are invalid


Quote:
Software patents aren't dead, but they just took a blow. In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court has ruled that a series of banking patents didn't cover a concrete software process but an abstract idea, throwing them out and potentially setting a stricter precedent for future patents.

Alice Corp. and CLS Bank are both major financial institutions, and they've been sparring for years in court. The issue is a series of patents that cover a kind of electronic escrow or "intermediated settlement," where a third party holds the real money while "shadow" balances are shown to both sides during trading. In order to preempt a threat from Alice, which held those patents, CLS asked for a court to declare them invalid, saying that the basic idea was obvious and that the patents didn't add more than a generic software process to carry it out. Alice countersued, alleging that CLS had infringed its patents, and the Supreme Court took up the issue in late 2013.

Alice attempted to prove that its patents were more than just an idea by pointing to the specific software steps that it had to carry out. But the court found that these steps weren't ultimately much more than "stating an abstract idea while adding the words 'apply it with a computer.'" The claims "simply recite the concept of intermediated settlement as performed by a generic computer. They do not, for example, purport to improve the functioning of the computer itself or effect an improvement in any other technology or technical field." Each of the steps that Alice described were basic computer functions like adjusting account balances, keeping records, and issuing automated instructions, and the finished product didn't transform them into something more than the obvious sum of their parts.

Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank has been one of the most closely watched patent cases of the year.
More at The Verge...

The ruling wasn't as broad as many had hoped, but it's a start. What do you think about the ruling?

--jeremy
 
Old 06-19-2014, 12:10 PM   #2
szboardstretcher
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http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions...3-298_7lh8.pdf

Quote:
“Simply appending conventional steps, specified at a high
level of generality,” to a method already “well known in the art” is not
“enough” to supply the “ ‘inventive concept’ ” needed to make this
transformation.
Quote:
Taking the claim elements separately, the function
performed by the computer at each step of the process is
“[p]urely conventional.” Mayo, supra, at ___ (slip op., at
10) (internal quotation marks omitted). Using a computer
to create and maintain “shadow” accounts amounts to
electronic recordkeeping—one of the most basic functions
of a computer.
I think basically, you are not allowed to 'alias' current general technology to show inventiveness. ie: 'maintaining shadow accounts' == 'record keeping'. You didn't invent anything but a new name.

This is not going to change much IMO. It's an opinion of the court that is stopping one problem, rather than addressing the broken patent system. Its putting a bandaid on a bullet wound.
 
Old 06-19-2014, 12:13 PM   #3
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It is a good ruling, but doesn't fix the patent system. In the past you had to build a working prototype before they accepted your patent (see first parachute patent). Now you can patent even impossible things.
 
Old 06-19-2014, 12:17 PM   #4
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Here. This is halliburton patenting the 'patent trolling' technique.

https://www.google.com/patents/US20080270152

Thats how broken people think the patent system is. No one would even bother if it weren't.
 
Old 06-19-2014, 01:31 PM   #5
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If they could apply this concept to design elements, the whole Apple vs Samsung thing would go away.
 
Old 06-19-2014, 02:38 PM   #6
jeremy
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Here's a good summary of the ruling https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20...ect-them.shtml:

Quote:
We had hoped that when the Supreme Court agreed to hear the Alice case it wouldn't miss another chance to actually add some clarity to what is and what is not patentable. It seemed like the perfect opportunity. As you may recall, the original appeals court (CAFC) ruling was a complete disaster, with 135 pages of different opinions -- with only one single paragraph having a majority view, rejecting the specific patent. But no one could agree on why or the larger questions.

It was as if CAFC were practically begging the Supreme Court to provide clarity and guidance.

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court didn't really do that. It technically "upheld" the CAFC ruling (that one paragraph) rejecting the patent (which basically covered a computerized escrow service) as unpatentable subject matter. It further makes clear that merely taking an abstract idea and doing it "on a computer" doesn't make it patentable. That's all good... But, while three Justices (Sotomayor, Ginsburg and Breyer) hoped the court would go further and basically say that business methods weren't patentable at all, the rest simply wouldn't go along with that, saying that "many computer-implemented claims are formally addressed to patent-eligible subject matter," but never giving any examples.
--jeremy
 
Old 06-19-2014, 03:37 PM   #7
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To forestall flames, I label this MY OPINION, but for any who wish to consider it...

This is just another futile trip around a maze with moveable walls and no exits. When the mice arrive at these long anticipated decision waypoints, they solemnly attempt to determine the meaning, but they are still in the maze and someone else still controls the placement of the walls. Our collective, and individual willingness to take it seriously is that which blocks the exits...

The simple existence of the concept of "intellectual property" is the real problem - endlessly wrangling over how to apply the concept to an infinite permutation of individual cases is the mechanism that keeps it intact.

If you reason out the concept of intellectual property, you must arrive at this fundamental question:

Quote:
Can a thought be the property of one individual, denied to all others, with potential penalties and punishments imposed on those who think that thought without permission of the owner?
If you answer yes, then you legitimize every practice of slavery and oppression by one group over another, past and present. Please leave the planet so that the rest of us may proceed to a bright future.

If you answer no then you must reject the (conditioned response) arguments that intellectual property laws somehow "protect" some "right" of "ownership", that is the idea you have just rejected!

The concept of intellectual property, in any form - particularly as law - is the major obstruction to human progress, and always has been. It is destructive of every perfectly ordinary and beneficial human activity based on sharing, the spread of useful knowledge, teaching, learning, helping... entirely for the monetary profit of a few.

If the human species is to reverse its current rapid decline and advance to any future not described by George Orwell, the concept of intellectual property, literally "ownership of thoughts" must be abolished.

Last edited by astrogeek; 06-19-2014 at 03:40 PM.
 
Old 06-19-2014, 04:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Can a thought be the property of one individual, denied to all others, with potential penalties and punishments imposed on those who think that thought without permission of the owner?
I would rephrase that. The idea is properly such that it can be bought and sold and used to make money. Also note that if you change the design even slightly and have good lawyers you can get around the patent.

I don't know if or how they are going to fix the patent system, but the main idea that should be preserved is:
Ideas should compete, not individuals and certainly not destructively or through sabotage.
I think that's what the patent system should be for or may have originally been intended as. It is supposed to protect the common man from having their ideas stolen by corporations, but I guess the corporations run things now and have the best lawyers and none of this matters. Yeah, it must be fixed.
 
Old 06-19-2014, 04:23 PM   #9
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Patenting might have originally been used for protection of personal investments and time into invention, wayyyyy back in the day, which bred creativity and industry. But the current patent system primarily protects the monopolies already in place.

The laws and systems we have are based off of a more simple time and need to be overhauled to handle our blossoming population and monopolistic industries.
 
Old 06-19-2014, 04:23 PM   #10
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Patenting might have originally been used for protection of personal investments and time into invention, wayyyyy back in the day, which bred creativity and industry. But the current patent system primarily protects the monopolies already in place.

The laws and systems we have are based off of a more simple time and need to be overhauled to handle our blossoming population and monopolistic industries.
 
Old 06-23-2014, 02:53 PM   #11
jeremy
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May be of interest to those participating in this thread: http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...ng-4175508922/
 
Old 09-24-2014, 10:31 PM   #12
jefro
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I am sure that common people have ideas. They have worked hard in some cases and deserve protection for their hard work. No one would go to work if they didn't have some assurance of getting paid. We all want to get paid for our ideas and physical work. How is it different for a brick layer or a doctor or an inventor in terms of work. Sure big companies all over the globe have assets in patents. They promote and defend them. What about some little guy like me who might want a patent? Do I deserve to have my lifes work protected?
 
Old 09-25-2014, 11:24 AM   #13
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Everyone has the right to patent an idea. You will also want good lawyers to help you defend your patent, otherwise a large corporation with better lawyers can steal your patent (it has happened).

Software patents are different from patenting an idea. They are more like abstract ideas, but maybe not even that. You should be able to copyright source code, but not patent it as a method of doing something. This doesn't help anyone except large corporations.
 
Old 09-30-2014, 06:04 PM   #14
metaschima
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Here is a new study that estimates more than 50% of Google and M$ patents are invalid:
https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20...me-court.shtml
also 76% of Oracle's. Which is great IMO. I was expecting Apple to be higher.
 
Old 10-03-2014, 10:14 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by metaschima View Post
Everyone has the right to patent an idea.
Ideas cannot be patented. People have had the idea of "faster than light travel" (FTL) for a long time. Should someone actually build an FTL device would one of those FTL idea people have a right to sue? I think not. More realistically, a person (A) designs an lawn sprinkler that distributes water by oscillating. Another person (B) builds a lawn sprinkler that rotates. Can person A sue person B for "stealing" his lawn sprinkler idea? I think not. Patents should only be allowed for an innovative (working) device that has blueprints of sufficient detail that allow that (working) product to be reproduced. A patent violation would occur when a different company builds the same type of product based (to a substantial degree) on the filed blueprint.

Note: Reverse engineering used to allow companies to build the "same" product thereby circumventing patent protection. Reverse engineering has been a time honored principle. Unfortunately, it appears - in todays legal environment - to have been made illegal. An unfortunate trend.

Take a look at the US Patent Office Website. See quote below.

Quote:
What can and cannot be patented?

What can be patented – utility patents are provided for a new, nonobvious and useful:

Process
Machine
Article of manufacture
Composition of matter
Improvement of any of the above

Note: In addition to utility patents, encompassing one of the categories above, patent protection is available for (1) ornamental design of an article of manufacture or (2) asexually reproduced plant varieties by design and plant patents.

What cannot be patented:

Laws of nature
Physical phenomena
Abstract ideas
Literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works (these can be Copyright protected). Go to the Copyright Office .
Inventions which are:
Not useful (such as perpetual motion machines); or
Offensive to public morality

Invention must also be:

Novel
Nonobvious
Adequately described or enabled (for one of ordinary skill in the art to make and use the invention)
Claimed by the inventor in clear and definite terms

Last edited by Steve R.; 10-03-2014 at 10:29 PM. Reason: Looked at US PAtent Office Website
 
  


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