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Submission + - Patent Judges Debate: Do Computers Become 'New Machines' When Loading Software?->

ectoman writes: A third party steps into a financial transaction to make sure all parties exchange funds at the same time and as expected. Can you patent this process? What if the third party is a computer? Rob Tiller, vice president and general counsel for Red Hat, details a recent court ruling on this very matter—one that has critical implications for the future of software patents, and one that divided the judges involved. Tiller writes that:

The judges mostly agreed that the idea of managing settlement risk with a third party was abstract such that by itself it could not be patented. They differed, though, on whether using a general purpose computer for managing settlement risk meant that the patents avoided invalidity based on abstraction.

Interestingly, some judges suggested that a computer becomes a "new machine" every time it loads different software. Opensource.com has Tiller's complete analysis.
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Patent Judges Debate: Do Computers Become 'New Machines' When Loading Software?

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