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The History of Software Patents

Written by Gene Quinn
Patent Attorney & Founder of IPWatchdog, Inc.
Principal Lecturer, PLI Patent Bar Review Course
Posted: January 24, 2009 @ 2:46 pm

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This article was updated and republished on November 30, 2014. You can find the new, updated version of the article at:



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Posted in: Computers, Gene Quinn, IP News, Articles, Patents, Software, Software Patent Basics, Technology & Innovation, US Supreme Court

About the Author

is a Patent Attorney and the founder of the popular blog, which has for three of the last four years (i.e., 2010, 2012 and 2103) been recognized as the top intellectual property blog by the American Bar Association. He is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course. As an electrical engineer with a computer engineering focus his specialty is electronic and computer devices, Internet applications, software and business methods.


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  1. Gene,

    It may be of interest to specifically highlight differences in the history you present with the history presented by our friends at Groklaw (specifically, Groklaw links to the following software history article: Surprisingly (or not), the article seems a little thin on the actual development of legal thought, for example, entirely omitting Alappat.

  2. breadcrumbs-

    Thanks for the link. I will take a look at it as I write the follow on pieces. I have a lot already written and ready to launch this week. I can assure you that my Federal Circuit article will definitely mention Alappat. In my opinion that is one of the most important cases in the development. That is the case that ultimately made it possible for software to come out of the closet and actually be treated like… well… software.

    Thanks for reading.


  3. Gene man what happened to the second posting?

  4. Thanks for the useful info. It’s so interesting