The History of Software Patents

By Gene Quinn
January 24, 2009

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



The Author

Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and President & CEO ofIPWatchdog, Inc.. Gene founded in 1999. Gene is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and Of Counsel to the law firm of Berenato & White, LLC. Gene’s specialty is in the area of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and works with start-up businesses throughout the United States and around the world, primarily dealing with software and computer related innovations. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to send Gene a message.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author as of the time of publication and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of Read more.

Discuss this

There are currently 4 Comments comments.

  1. breadcrumbs January 25, 2009 10:06 pm


    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. Gene Quinn January 25, 2009 11:33 pm


    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. 6 March 12, 2009 12:06 am

    Gene man what happened to the second posting?

  4. JamesD June 11, 2009 1:46 pm

    Thanks for the useful info. It’s so interesting