Posts Tagged: "software patent"

USPTO: No Change to Software Patentability Evaluation

In a one-page memorandum to the Patent Examining Corps dated May 13, 2013, Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy Drew Hirshfeld had a simple message to respond to the Federal Circuit’s en banc non-decision in CLS Bank v. Alice Corp. The message was this: “there is no change in examination procedure for evaluating subject matter eligibility.”

What Happened to Judge Lourie in CLS Bank v. Alice Corp?

The first thing that any student of the Federal Circuit likely notices when reading CLS Bank is that Judge Lourie not only joined the dominant concurrence, but he also wrote the opinion. The same Judge Lourie who wrote the first opinion in Mayo, after which the Supreme Court asked the Federal Circuit to reconsider, and who then wrote the second opinion in Mayo. The same Judge Lourie who wrote the first opinion in Myriad, after which the Supreme Court asked the Federal Circuit to reconsider, and who then wrote the second opinion in Myriad[12]. All of those opinions interpret §101 broadly. What changed?

The Alice in Wonderland En Banc Decision by the Federal Circuit in CLS Bank v. Alice Corp

All the Judges rely on the same Supreme Court precedents in Gottschalk v Benson, Parker v. Flook, Diamond v. Diehr, Bilski v. Kappos, and Mayo v. Prometheus. All the Judges recognize the same judicial exception to statutory subject matter under §101 for laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas. All the Judges recognize that a claim must include “meaningful limitations” that go beyond an abstract idea. Hollow field-of-use limitations and insignificant pre or post-solution activity don’t count. However, this is where their similarities end.

Is IBM’s Watson Still Patent Eligible?

Watson? It is an artificially intelligent computer system that is capable of answering questions presented in natural language. It is, in essence, the modern day equivalent to the all knowing Star Trek computer. It is flat out ridiculous to be asking whether the Star Trek omnipotent computer could be patent eligible, that that is where we find ourselves because what makes the computer unique is the software that makes it possible for Watson to perform 80 trillion operations per second. But Federal Circuit Judges say that mere fact that software is fast doesn’t make it patent eligible unless there is some kind of uniqueness to the computer itself. Have we really reached the point where truly astonishing innovations, innovations once thought to be impossible, are not patent eligible? Talk about jumping the shark!

5 CAFC Judges Say Computers Patentable, Not Software

Perpetuating the myth that the computer is where the magic lies does nothing other than ignore reality. Software is what makes everything happen. or crying out loud, software drives a multitude of machines! Maybe the auto mechanic for Judges Judges Lourie, Dyk, Prost, Reyna and Wallach should remove the software from their cars. Perhaps as they are stranded and forced to walk to work they might have time to contemplate the world they seem to want to force upon the rest of us; a world hat clings to mechanical machines completely non-reliant on software. That will be great for the economy!

Federal Circuit Nightmare in CLS Bank v. Alice Corp.

The only thing we know is this — the Federal Circuit issued an extraordinarily brief per curiam decision, which stated: “Upon consideration en banc, a majority of the court affirms the district court’s holding that the asserted method and computer-readable media claims are not directed to eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. An equally divided court affirms the district court’s holding that the asserted system claims are not directed to eligible subject matter under that statute.” Thus, the asserted claims are not patent eligible.

Software Patents: The Engineer vs. Designer Perspective

As a designer, I just like to be hands on, managing the quality of the work and making sure it communicates exactly what we need it to say. And, I’m the same in preparing for court. I like to create demonstratives and be the one giving tutorials to the court – because live presentations are often the best way to communicate how something works. Another visualization technique that’s really effective is storyboarding. Storyboards can show the change in a system over time. If this is the position of the device and this is what you see on screen at time T1, then at time T2, this is the position of the device and this is what you see on screen. And then at time T3, this is the position of the device and this is what you see on screen. Describing actions with pictures removes ambiguity about the user experience and establishes some defense of how the system is claimed to operate.

Software Patents: Drafting for Litigation and a Global Economy

On March 25, 2013, I spoke on the record with Eric Gould Bear (left) about software innovations, software patents and the trials and tribulations of litigating software patents long after they were first written. In Part I of our interview, titled Designing Into the Path of Disruptive Technology, we discussed the journey from ideas to designs that design a technology platform that could realistically be useful 5, 10 or more years down the road. In Part II of our interview, which appears below, we discuss drafting software patent applications with an eye toward litigation and the unfortunate reality that the top technology innovators simply won’t listen to licensing overtures unless they are first sued.

Designing Into the Path of Disruptive Technology: An Interview with Software Expert Eric Gould Bear

It’s important to remember that ideas are a dime a dozen. And what matters at the end of the day, in my mind, is what works well for people. It comes down to making sure that your flash of genius is a fit for what’s valuable to real people in everyday life. Whether in a consumer space or in business, it doesn’t matter. The underlying principles of making great design come down to how people act in the world. How do they think about themselves? What do they feel about your product? What do they think about each other? And where are they running into challenges in either accomplishing things or living life to its fullest. So, if it starts with an idea, I would challenge that premise to begin with – because I believe great design often starts with a question as opposed to an answer.

Writing Software Patent Applications

Collecting the information necessary to prepare a patent application covering a computer related invention can be quite challenging. Typically, most computer related inventions today relate at least in some way to software, which is at the core of the challenge. This software challenge stems from the fact that the software code is not protected by patent law, but rather how the software operates is protected. This means that the description needs to be one that can be replicated by others regardless of how they choose to write code to accomplish the necessary tasks.

Fixing the Patent System to Improve Innovation

Settling nuisance value perpetuates the cycle, as the automobile industry discovered in the 1980s and early 1990s. Show a willingness to pay extortion-like demands and you will see more lawsuits filed. It is an endless cycle, at least until it gets broken. The solution is an easy one — fight at least occasionally, or at least one! Because the easy solution isn’t pursued and instead the industry pursues a strategy akin to a Buck during deer hunting season I have to assume that they really don’t want a solution. What other conclusion can you reach when intelligent people ignore the obvious?

Patent Eligibility Today: Are Software Methods Patentable?

Two common criticisms of software patents, as compared to patents in the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors, are (a) the relatively low cost of invention; and (b) the relative ease of implementation. Are these the right factors for us to be considering for purposes of inventiveness? It seems to me that if we are going to be perfectly honest and engage in a discussion that embraces the realities of the industry we have to recognize that this criticism from those who detest software patents is based on factual fallacies. If software is so easy to create and implement why then does software of all sorts suffer from so many problems, require so many fixes and crash without warning?

A Guide to Patenting Software: Getting Started

Any good patent application that covers a software related invention will need to put forth three specific pieces of information. First, you need to describe the overall computer architecture of the system within which the software will exist. Second, you need to prepare a single flowchart that depicts the overall working of the software. Third, you need to prepare a series of flow charts that show with painstaking detail the various routines and subroutines that together connect to create and deliver the complete functionality of the computer system as enabled by the software.

On the Record with Manny Schecter, Part II

In Part II of the interview, which is the final segment, we discuss how IBM keeps a watchful eye on the industry to learn from the mistakes of others, what the conversion to first to file will mean for IBM patents, how Watson is being deployed and David Kappos leaving the USPTO.

On the Record with Manny Schecter, IBM Chief Patent Counsel

Whenever there is interesting IBM news of a patent variety Schecter has been gracious enough to make time to chat. The news of IBM’s patent supremacy wasn’t just any run-of-the-mill news, at least not in my opinion. The commitment to innovation and belief in the patent system has served IBM well for many decades, and twenty years as #1 at anything is astounding in a world dominated by parity and antitrust regulators that don’t want any single company to succeed too much. We discuss the commitment to excellence required to stay #1 for twenty years, the process for deciding which patents to keep paying maintenance fees on, what may change once the U.S. converts to first-to-file on March 16, 2013, how Watson is being put to use and the parting of USPTO Director David Kappos.