Brad Feld

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Score Two Wins Against Software Patents

Dec 18, 2009
Category Technology

I have to keep reminding myself that some things just take a long time.  My rampage against software patents continues and, while my efforts around the StartupVisa have dominated my “government time” in the past quarter, I’ve still got my eye on the ultimate goal of rendering the construct of a software patent invalid.

I smiled yesterday when I saw the short article titled 3D Computer Graphics Patents Deemed InvalidThe key line from the article is “Though the calculations may be performed on a computer, they are not tied to any particular computer. For these reasons, the claims of the [patents-in-suit] fail to pass muster under the Bilski machine implementation test for patentability under 35 U.S.C. § 101.” 

This is super important because the vast majority of software patents have this problem.

In addition, the Federal Circuit issued an opinion in Hewlett-Packard Co. v. Acceleron LLC that makes it much easy for a company to file a declaratory judgment action when threatened by a “nonpracticing patent owner” (also known as an – ahem – patent troll).  The law firm Morgan Lewis has a great summary of this up on the web and the opinion is online.

I am an optimist.  And I am optimistic that progress will be made against software patents and for a Startup Visa in 2010.