The tension mounts. The additional session announced by the court is now over, and there’s still no Bilski. The two remaining days on the court’s calendar for opinions this term are June 21st and 28th. (For background about the case, see en.swpat.org: Bilski v. Kappos)
June 14th‘s opinions have been published, and Bilski’s not there. The SCOTUSblog folk at the court also confirm there’s no Bilski decision. The court has announced that they will additionally publish opinions this Thursday. The possibility of delaying the decision until the next term is very unlikely as Chief Justice Roberts said at a conference last week that Bilski will “almost certainly be issued on one of the next three Mondays – June 14, 21, or 28.” Since June 14th is now passed, and the 17th has been added, that makes three possible days for announcing Bilski: June 17th, 21st and 28th.
CSIRO is an organisation that holds a patent on wifi. They’ve already sued twenty companies and have said that they want royalties from “the entire industry”. If this includes software developers, then we have a problem. Can anyone help analyse if their patent is a software patent or a hardware patent? Thanks in advance.
The Supreme Court handed down a lot of decisions today, but not Bilski. The remaining possible days are all in June: 1st, 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th. The Supreme Court term runs from October to June. Bilski’s hearing was November 9th, which is pretty early, and now the decision is coming in the last month. They must be working hard on this one.
In the coming days, venture capitalist and anti-software patent blogger Brad Feld will post copies of the Bilski film Patent Absurdity to 200 people. End Software Patents is looking for help in building that list of 200 people. We’re looking for the key people in US patent politics, the software patent critics inside the big companies, the professors who support patents but might see why software doesn’t fit that system, and anyone else that might consider giving our position some support when the post-Bilski debate erupts. Add names in comments here, or to this wiki page: Who should see Patent Absurdity.
The below is the text, and links to machine translations to English, of a recent German court ruling that seems to uphold software patents.
An unexpected, good result: after more than a year and a half of review (referral G3/08), the EPO’s Enlarged Board of Appeal has declared that the four questions posed were all inadmissible. The patent office is thus does not have the power to decide for itself whether or not software should be patentable.
Following a public consultation in April 2009, the European Patent Offices’s internal “Enlarged Board of Appeal” today published their review of their policy of granting software patents. Early analysis suggests they rubber stamp their current practice.
When you buy a digital camera, can holders of video patents claim ownership of your videos? They certainly claim to. When looking into this, I found an interesting 2008 opinion from the US Supreme Court that suggests, to me (IANAPL), that "exhaustion" through "first sale" might save our bacon: Quanta v. LGE.
Here it is: tradoc_146029.pdf. We owe a big thanks to the government employees who risked their jobs by leaking previous versions. Without those leaks, our governments probably wouldn’t have agreed finally to show us the text. (on en.swpat.org, there’s related info at ACTA overview.)
Below are some initial thoughts.
FSF has just published a film by independent film make Luca Lucarini:
Against the backdrop of of the current Bilski case in the US Supreme Court, the film features a series of interviews explaining the absurdity of software patents and how we got into this mess. Luca and some of the cast from the film kindly agreed to answer here some of the questions you might have about the film. So fire away!
A reminder: The Australian government will propose new legislation about the patentability of software this year. The progress in New Zealand, and the Australian government Department for Innovation’s doubts about software patents indicate that organised people can make a difference. Below is the info I’ve gathered so far.
The following is a transcript of a talk given in New Zealand, 2010. Andrew Tridgell discusses why reading patents is usually a good idea, how to read a patent, and how to work through it with a lawyer to build a solid defence. For the free software community, Tridgell also suggests how cooperation could help scare off patent holders.