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Red Hat Urges USPTO To Deny Most Software Patents 175

Posted by samzenpus
from the stop-giving-it-away dept.
Julie188 writes "The United States Patent and Trademark Office asked for public input on how it should use the Supreme Court's Bilski decision to guide it when granting new patents. Not surprisingly, Red Hat took them up on it. The USPTO should use Bilski and the fact that the machine transformation test is 'important' to Just Say No to most software patents, it advised. Rob Tiller, Red Hat's Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, IP, is hopeful that the patent office will listen and put an end to the crazy software patent situation that has turned patents into weapons that hinder innovation."
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Red Hat Urges USPTO To Deny Most Software Patents

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  • by someone1234 (830754) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @01:45AM (#33744296)

    Right, so patent trolls got the idea?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 30, 2010 @01:56AM (#33744360)

    Name a single company that hasn't "stolen" an idea from someone else.

    Look at the GUI. Originally invented by Xerox. Apple stole it out right and then tried to sue Microsoft and HP for using the idea. When Xerox tried to sue Apple the case was dismissed. Few ideas were as original and trans-formative as the GUI. Companies these days are getting patent protection for ideas that others came up with decades ago or for absolute garbage. I have yet to see a software patent that wasn't overly broad, vague and utterly worthless.

  • by ciaran_o_riordan (662132) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @07:22AM (#33745610) Homepage

    The End Software Patents campaign also submitted a brief, a little more specific:

    http://news.swpat.org/2010/09/esp-to-uspto/ [swpat.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 30, 2010 @08:06AM (#33745918)

    Done. http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/index.php

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @08:55AM (#33746396) Journal

    Look at the GUI. Originally invented by Xerox. Apple stole it out right

    Interesting definition of 'stole'. Most people regard 'exchanging for something else of value' as 'buying' or 'bartering'. Or are you forgetting the rather large set of Apple shares that Xerox got in exchange for allowing Apple people to look at ideas from PARC and commercialise them?

  • by Grond (15515) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @09:06AM (#33746556) Homepage

    Not so long as they get paid per patent accepted they won't.

    This statement ignores a ton of history and implies corruption where there is none. The Patent Office has historically fought tooth and nail to oppose the expansion of patentable subject matter. It opposed patents on genetically modified organisms all the way to the Supreme Court. Diamond v. Chakrabarty [findlaw.com], 447 U.S. 303 (1980) (the 'Diamond' in that case was Sidney Diamond, the Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks). It repeatedly opposed patents on software all the way to the Supreme Court. Diamond v. Diehr [justia.com], 450 U.S. 175 (1981); Parker v. Flook [justia.com], 437 U. S. 584 (1978) (Parker was the acting Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks); Gottschalk v. Benson [findlaw.com], 409 U.S. 63 (1972) (again, Gottschalk was the acting Commissioner). In Bilski v. Kappos, the Patent Office was fighting against the patentability of business methods, again, all the way to the Supreme Court.

    In most of these cases (all except Bilski, in fact) it was actually the Patent Office that appealed to the Supreme Court rather than acquiesce to the lower court's ruling, so the Patent Office has for decades consistently fought quite hard against the expansion of patentable subject matter despite being reliant on application and maintenance fees for its budget.

  • by king neckbeard (1801738) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @02:24PM (#33751304)
    Licenses don't have to be revocable, and that applies to software and patents. When Oracle acquired Sun, they didn't have a chance to make OpenOffice, Virtualbox, and OpenSolaris not available under the FOSS licenses they were previously released under, even though they were the sole copyright holders of at least some of those. If Google had used something OpenJDK based instead of Dalvik, then Oracle wouldn't be able to sue. I'm pretty sure the same thing applies to a license Sun granted for any JVM that follows the Java spec.

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