Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 19th Jun 2014 23:59 UTC

The US Supreme Court has made it ever so slightly harder to patent software.

The patent claimed a method of hedging against counter-party risk, which is a fancy word for the risk that you make a deal with someone and later he doesn't uphold his end of the bargain. The Supreme Court unanimously held that you can't patent an abstract concept like this merely by stating that the hedging should be done on a computer. This kind of abstract patent is depressingly common in the software industry, and the CLS ruling will cause lower courts to take a harder look at them.

It's a small victory, but hey, I take whatever I can. Sadly, the SCOTUS also states that "many computer-implemented claims" are still eligible for patent protection, without actually explaining which claims. So, while appending "on a computer" to an obvious abstract concept does not make it patentable, the actual concept of patenting software is still very much allowed.

Even if the SCOTUS had completely abolished software patents, however, we still would have to deal with them for more than a decade - existing software patents would not magically vanish, and would still require lengthy and expensive court cases to be invalidated. Something bullies like Microsoft and Apple can afford easily, while many others cannot.

Sorry for not putting a smile on your face, but reality is reality. Sadly.

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RE[11]: Well ...
by Alfman on Sat 21st Jun 2014 04:28 UTC in reply to "RE[10]: Well ..."
Member since:


To me, that's like saying 'if the price of this piece of software isn't compelling enough, then one should be free to pirate it.'

I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this. Some crackers work hard to disassemble the copy protection of a software and distribute pirated versions; that doesn't make it right.

Haha, why is it these patent debates always go back to examples using copyrights?

Infringing patents are to violating copyrights as violating copyrights are to stealing a car.

And yet...

Edited 2014-06-21 04:47 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[12]: Well ...
by WorknMan on Sat 21st Jun 2014 05:48 in reply to "RE[11]: Well ..."
WorknMan Member since:

Strange as it may seem, I'm actually more in favor of abolishing copyrights (and I mean as in piracy, not trademarks) much more so than abolishing all software patents. Mainly because copyrights are pretty much impossible to enforce in the digital age (unless you can do so via technical means, where the analog hole doesn't apply).

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[12]: Well ...
by kwan_e on Tue 24th Jun 2014 03:05 in reply to "RE[11]: Well ..."
kwan_e Member since:

Haha, why is it these patent debates always go back to examples using copyrights?

I suspect it's because deep down inside, some people really like to be able to own an idea so that they can become rich off of it or be worshipped as an idea-haver.

So they like to lump everything together because in the end, it's the idea they want to hoard. Being able to control the idea would naturally mean all the protections of copyright and patents, whereas having copyrights and patents does not give you full control of the idea.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[13]: Well ...
by zima on Tue 24th Jun 2014 20:27 in reply to "RE[12]: Well ..."
zima Member since:

And right here I have the following google ad, oh the irony... ;)

Sell your Invention Idea
Find Companies that Help Inventors. Request Free Invention Kit Now!

Reply Parent Score: 2