Archive for November, 2009

Consultation responses in Australia

Friday, November 27th, 2009

There were 38 responses to the consultation in Australia about patentable subject matter. I’ve quickly analysed them all and below are my initial comments. There 400+ pages of writing, so I only skimmed them and I’ve surely made mistakes. There’s a copy of this analysis on the wiki at: http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Australian_consultation_responses_2009 – please add notes there to correct my analysis or to add your own.
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Australia: change coming, opportunities already missed

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

The Australian Government’s Advisory Council on Intellectual Property (ACIP) is performing a review of patentable subject matter. There was a public consultation, but it closed on November 13th. It seems a legislative proposal is being prepared for 2010.
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Bilski: the next steps

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

There are two phases left. There’s a phase of maybe four or five months until the ruling, and there’s a longer post-ruling phase where we may get legislative proposals or a second Supreme Court case. This is the first time in 28 years where the USA could rid itself of software development’s biggest problem, so let’s look at what we have to do over the coming months.
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Education and software patents

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

I recently found a paper published in 2004 by European Schoolnet: Software Patents – A Potential Hindrance of
ICT in Education
. This if the first paper I’ve found on this topic and I find it well written, so I’ve summarised it below.

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Three rulings based on Bilski

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Another US district court has made a ruling based on Bilski – rejecting three patents, although giving ambiguous comments about one of them. Together with two previous rulings based on Bilski, we can look at how it might be used, and what are its shortcomings.
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Israel in danger of software patents

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

(Bilski coverage will continue tomorrow)

The Israeli Patent Office (IPO) has launched a consultation on whether or not to allow software patents, with a February 2010 deadline. I’ve put the details at the end of this post, but first some background.
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Bilski’s hearing and software patents

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

At Monday’s hearing (court transcript), neither party had the objective of abolishing software patents. The Bilski case is about a business method patent, so there was Mr. Jakes arguing that business methods should be patentable, and Mr. Stewart arguing that they shouldn’t. For software to be excluded, we’re relying on the judges (to whom we wrote an amicus brief, as did many others). There’re a few worrying statements, but there’s also a lot of hope.

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The Bilski hearing transcript, as text

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

The US Supreme Court has very promptly posted a transcript of today’s oral hearing of the Bilski case (as pdf). I’ve made a HTML version, posted in this story. (See also ESP’s analysis)
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Bilski hearing initial reports

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Reports are starting to appear from today’s hearing of the Bilski case at the US Supreme Court. I’ll keep updating as they appear.

The court transcript is now online: 08-964.pdf (and we have a text version).

Gearing up for Monday’s Bilski case

Friday, November 6th, 2009

With the Bilski hearing set for Monday, articles and web pages have started stringing up, so I’m collecting them here. Items from ESP, SFLC, Red Hat…
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Patently-O ESP editorial: Abandoning software patents?

Friday, November 6th, 2009

Patently-O was kind enough to publish an editorial by ESP:

As well as the hundred comments at the bottom of the article, don’t miss the further comments on comments page 2, and more on comments page 3. The article raised quite a stir.

FSF files brief in Bilski case calling on the Supreme Court to eliminate software patents

Friday, November 6th, 2009

(See the brief; independent translations of this announcement: Spanish)

BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA — Friday, October 2, 2009 — The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today submitted an amicus curiae brief calling on the Supreme Court to affirm that software ideas are not patentable. After outlining the positive impact that the free software movement and the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL) have had on computer use, the brief explains how software patents are an obstacle and a danger to software developers.
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ESP responds to the European Patent Office’s consulation about the exclusion of computer programs from patentability

Friday, November 6th, 2009

The following is the Amicus curiae brief submitted by End Software Patents regarding the European Patent Office’s referral “G 3/08″ on the interpretation of EPC Art.52.

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Transcript of presentation by Ciaran O’Riordan of ESP’s current plans

Friday, November 6th, 2009

A transcript of Ciaran O’Riordan’s ESP presentation at Libre Planet 2009, March 21st, Boston.

Interview: Ciaran O’Riordan of End Software Patents

Friday, November 6th, 2009

LWN.net interviews ESP executive director, March 11, 2009:

Looking At Microsoft’s Fat Patents Through Bilski Glasses

Friday, November 6th, 2009

Yesterday, (edit: thus, 2009-02-26) Microsoft attacked free software and GNU/Linux users with software patent claims against the Tom Tom Navigator and its implementation of the FAT file system. But do they have a sword or a wet rag? There have been interesting patent rejections coming from the USPTO’s Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) since the Bilski ruling was handed down by an en banc hearing of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC). One is the rejection of one of IBM’s database query patents. It was rejected because the innovation isn’t “tied to a particular machine”. So it’s a happy coincidence that MS claims their technology is running on all sorts of devices. Foot, meet mouth.
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