Will the Supreme Court save us from software patents?

March 12, 2014 - from The Washington Post

If you write a book or a song, you can get copyright protection for it. If you invent a new pill
or a better mousetrap, you can get a patent on it. But for the last two decades, software has
had the distinction of being potentially eligible for both copyright and patent protection.

Critics say that’s a mistake. They argue that the complex and expensive patent system is a
terrible fit for the fast-moving software industry. And they argue that patent protection is
unnecessary because software innovators already have copyright protection available.

This spring, the Supreme Court will weigh in on the patentability of software for the first
time in a generation. In the 1970s, the high court placed strict rules on software-related
patents. But since then, a lower court has effectively overruled the Supreme Court’s
precedents, allowing hundreds of thousands of legally dubious software patents to be
approved.

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High Court Denies SAP Petition Challenging Appellate Review During PTAB Proceeding

January 27, 2014 - from from Bloomberg BNA

The U.S. Supreme Court recently refused to hear an appeal by SAP of a $391 million judgment awarded to Versata Software in a patent suit. Although the jury award was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the patent at issue was found invalid by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in its first decision under the America Invents Act (AIA). Utilizing the AIA post grant review process, SAP filed a covered business method challenge of Versata’s patent and asked the court of appeals to stay the judgment until patent validity was determined. The court of appeals denied the stay prompting SAP to file its petition with the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Supreme Court takes up CLS Bank v. Alice – Clarification or More Obfuscation To Come?

December 16, 2013 - from National Law Review

Last week, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in “Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Intl.”, opening the door once again for the Justices to further carve out the landscape of patent-eligible software and business method claims within the meaning of 35 U.S.C. § 101. The Federal Circuit’s en banc decision that Alice’s claims were invalid generated seven separate opinions and failed to provide clear guidance as to the patent-eligibility of software claims. After that decision, many practitioners were hoping that the Supreme Court would hear the case and provide some clarity. Whether or not clarity will be provided remains to be seen, but certiorari has been granted, so the hope remains.

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