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[This could slap software patents out of the system.]

U.S. appeal raises business method patent issues

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| Software companies and other businesses are watching closely as a U.S appeals
| court weighs whether an inventor can patent an abstract process -- something
| that involves nothing more than thoughts.


Bilski: Information is physical!?

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| The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC just heard
| arguments in the Bilski case, where the appellant (Bilski) is arguing that a
| completely mental process should get a patent. The fact that this was even
| entertained demonstrates why the patent system has truly descended into new
| levels of madness. At least the PTO rejected the application; the problem is
| that the PTO now allows business method patents and software patents. Once
| they allowed them, there's no rational way to say "stop! That's rediculous!"
| without being arbitrary.


I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Bilski!

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| Business-method patents are an unwarranted and dangerous extension of the
| patentability standards. As the article suggests, the method in question may
| have been used for many years in slightly different contexts and is now being
| transferred to a computerized system; will that now mean that the pencil and
| paper method becomes an infringing use? And if you as a lawyer advise a
| client on a tax strategy or a method of doing business, could that advice be
| a patent infringement? It is too ephemeral for a patent, and ought be knocked
| down altogether.


What I don't get about in re Bilski: Why do any financial companies support
business method patents?

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| Are there some banks that have amassed giant arsenals—the Microsoft(s) of the
| banking world? (Microsoft had less than a dozen patents before the 1998 State
| Street decision, and now has thousands, according to a former IPLB reporter
| who was inside the Microsoft war room a year ago.)
| Is there a giant settlement, or license agreement, or some other indicator of
| corporate behavior that would indicate why a particular financial company has
| a pro-BM patent standpoint? Who are the winners and losers of the first 10
| years of biz-meth patent war?


Methods and madness

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| Only those inventions “worth to the public the embarrassment of an exclusive
| patent” should receive patent protection, declared Thomas Jefferson, himself
| an inventor and America's first commissioner of patents. Since his day some
| patents have proved to be more of an embarrassment than others. Most
| notorious are “business methods” patents, such as the patent held by
| Priceline, an online ticket agency, for the Dutch-auction method of selling
| tickets. Thousands of these patents have been issued since they were first
| recognised in 1998.


Court case could redefine business method, software patents

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| One Free Software Foundation-backed group--aptly called the End Software
| Patents Project--is using the case as a platform to argue that no form of
| software should ever qualify for a patent. Red Hat also argued that
| the "exclusionary objectives" of software patents conflict with the nature of
| the open-source system and open up coders to myriad legal hazards.

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