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[9]: Well ...
by kwan_e on Tue 24th Jun 2014 03:00 UTC in reply to "RE[8]: Well ..."
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I'm simply saying that if you're going to do so by reverse engineering my shit, incorporating that into your own project, and marketing it based on the fact that it's compatible with mine, then you should at least be paying me a little off the top. THAT is what I mean by 'piggybacking'. Hell, I might even be willing to sell you a license to the source code, and save you the cost and aggravation of reverse engineering it yourself.

Reverse engineering should be a legally protected practice. If we're going to use the weird SCOTUS logic that the ends justifies the means, then reverse engineering is justified.

We need to remember the modern computing-for-the-masses age was possible because Compaq reverse engineered IBM's PC BIOS and made a clean room implementation.

Reverse engineering is not the same as just copying and pasting code. Anything that is easy to reverse engineer is not worth protecting and you should not force society to keep your monopoly just because you think you deserved to be repaid merely for yourefforts.

Reply Parent Score: 2