Originally Posted by sonoran
For sure. I do agree with Magickman that software patents make no sense, but that Judge no doubt knows much more about the law than he does about computer science.
History of software patents as I understand it . . .
20 years ago software patents had no place . . . here´s an example.
Patents are about “claims“ filed in the application and federal circuit court judges (US) handle disputes when the USPTO or
- if in another country in this global trade age for example patenting in Denmark when the DPTO -
denies an application for patent protection.
In general 35 U.S.C.§ 101 represents Congress' intent not to place any restrictions on the subject matter for which a patent may be obtained -
that said excluded from patent protection are laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas.
Supreme Court cases from the 70's (Gottschalk v. Benson
409 U.S. 63 , 93 S.Ct. 1048 (1972) and Parker v. Flook
437 U.S. 584 98 S.Ct. 2522 (1978)
both computer-related, stand for no more than those long established principles.
in re Warmerdam et al. 33 F.3d 1354 (Fed. Ciir. (1994) the claimed invention included methods for generating a "data structure" -
where inventors Tom Warmerdam and Bernard Verwer desired to file patent claims (6 in total) for their idea -
a process of a machine having memory which contains any data representing “bubble heirachy“
for controlling motion of objects to avoid collision with other objects.
Basically, a data bubble was put around the position of an object . . . entirely around its bounds and the course detail would improve
to the lowest level of heirachy with smaller bubbles for successive refining of the object avoidance algorithm.
This is about the anticipated path of a robot (or for example in California a self-driving / driverless robot car.)
Now if it sounds to you and me like this idea - albeit abstract and a mathematical algorithm (generally not patentable) - is a worthwhile invention,
the Dutch guys Warmerdam and Verwer only got one of the six claims patentable in the above case law.
Unlike many foreign countries, the United States does not have an explicit rule that defines software as unpatentable subject matter.
Despite the United States’ leadership position in patent protection, U.S. case law defining patentatble subject matter has evolved slowly and painfully.
"The Patent and Trademark Office remains uncomfortable in granting patents for inventions ideally embodied as software.
Inventors’ attorneys continue to test these boundaries and the PTO continues to reject patent applications for software inventions
based on the grounds that they constitute non-statutory subject matter.
The PTO is denying patents because the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has not articulated clear guidelines"
Yes I do have a patent in the works (not software) with maybe more interest in Europe than in the USA.
And as far as I can tell now in 2013 there exists software patents . . .
even though I am not sure the law has changed -with the following as one example :