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Posts Tagged: "Alice v. CLS amici briefs"

Misleading argument in Cuozzo suggests district courts use BRI

In the Introduction to the Unified Patents’ brief the following statement is made: “The phrase ‘broadest reasonable interpretation’ describes the same procedure applied in both the PTO and by the courts.” That statement is unequivocally incorrect. Federal district courts do not apply the broadest reasonable interpretation of an issued claim when performing a claim construction in patent litigation. Quite the opposite, district courts narrowly interpret claims in an attempt to find a true and correct construction of the claims. The law is unequivocally clear: district courts do not apply the broadest reasonable interpretation standard. It is so axiomatic that district courts use a different standard than does the USPTO when interpreting claims it is almost difficult to figure out where to begin to unravel this falsehood.

Prelude to SCOTUS Oral Arguments in Alice v. CLS Bank, Part 3

BEAR: ”When the Constitution was written, there was no concept of software. Nor was there computer hardware. We had physical, you know, very physical mechanical inventions. And computers have come around and software has come around, and the interpretation of these statutes has had to shift with the technology. And as unimaginable as it may seem to us here in 2014, there’s something in our future as unimaginable as software was when the Constitution was written. Inventions in that future domain need to not be shut down because of the way we rule today on §101. So the request for not having a real hard line – a bright line – is important. It protects the possibility of fostering future inventions in domains we can’t even imagine.”

Prelude to SCOTUS Oral Arguments in Alice v. CLS Bank, Part 2

BEAR: ”[T]here’s an amusing little brief worth visiting. It’s by a number of companies including LinkedIn, Netflix, Twitter, Yelp and Rackspace – whom I respect and appreciate as innovators – and takes a fairly radical stance. I believe it’s important for anyone reading along to be studying briefs on all sides. Their main approach is to establish that software patents are not only not necessary, but hinder innovation. While positioning themselves to be seen as utopian, the politics strike me as appealing to the fearful, emotionally insecure side of people. Twitter represents that they are recruiting engineers based on a purported fact that they don’t want to engage in offensive patenting. It seems intentionally misleading and inviting reactionary public support. Let me read you a sentence. It says, “Both trade secret and copyright law already protect software and effectively prevent both wrongful use and explicit copying by others.” As if, somehow, that addresses the issues at hand.”

Alice at Court: Stepping Through the Looking Glass – Part II

There is a further gulf between those who view In re Alappat as sound logic and engineering (ABL, AIPLA, Alice, Mr. Ronald Benrey, BSA, CCIA, Mr. Dale Cook, Prof. of Computer Science Lee A. Hollaar, IEEE-USA, Microsoft) and those who it as mistaken (Electronic Frontier Foundation, Prof. Robin Feldman, Red Hat) and primarily responsible for an increase in such patents (Electronic Frontier Foundation, Google, “Law, Business and Economics Scholars”). The IEEE-USA provides an excellent analysis of the relationship between software and hardware, pointing out the incontrovertible principle of equivalency, that “special-purpose programming of general-purpose hardware” is “equivalent to special-purpose hardware,” though IEEE-USA fails to mention that this is a fundamental principle of computer science, as established by Alan Turing in the 1930s. To assert, as does the EFF, that the Federal Circuit “concocted” the equivalency of hardware and software goes beyond denying the foundational work of Turing and others. The equivalency of software and hardware is what makes it possible for Java to run on any type of computer using the Java Virtual Machine, as well the electronic design automation industry, which enables complex electronic circuits to be entirely designed in software before being implemented in hardware.

Prelude to SCOTUS Oral Arguments in Alice v. CLS Bank: A Software Conversation with Eric Gould Bear

Eric Gould Bear is an inventor on over 100 patents and patent applications and a testifying expert witness for patent infringement cases. He is an expert in the software/patent space, and has seen the industry from multiple different angles over the years. With the oral argument in Alice v. CLS Bank scheduled for Monday, March 31, 2014, Bear and I spoke on the record about the issues, using as our focal point several of the high profile amici briefs filed… In part 1 we discuss the false distinction between hardware and software, and Bear goes into deal with examples, saying at one point that most of the innovation today relates to software. He also takes issue with the ACLU amicus brief, calling it “embarrassing.”

Alice at Court: Stepping Through the Looking Glass of the Merits Briefs in Alice v. CLS Bank – Part I

The fractured views of the world begin with the question presented, and reflect how different parties frame the debate in very different terms. Alice’s merits brief presents the question before the Court as “whether claims to computer implemented inventions…are patent-eligible.” Putting the question this way allows Alice to place its inventions and claims in the larger context of all computer-implemented inventions, the subtext being that if the Supreme Court holds that computer-implemented inventions are patent eligible—which is a fair bet—then Alice’s patents should be valid. Further, phrasing it this way allows Alice to distance itself from pure business method claims from the invalid claims in Bilski v. Kappos.

Dissecting the Software Patent Amici in Support of CLS Bank

Supporters of CLS Bank have largely responded that software patents hurt innovation. But that can’t be! One of the areas critics always say has been allegedly hamstrung by patents, the smartphones industry, is barely over 6 years old. Have patents stopped innovation of smartphones? Hardly. In fact, with every new version companies tout just how much more the phones do and how they are so far superior to the previous model. Thus, it is easy to see that those claiming that software patents block innovation simply ignore market reality and how the functionality of current devices (which is thanks to software) match up with previous generations of devices over the last 6 years. Corporate critics must also ignore their own marketing of new smartphones, which directly contradicts the ridiculous claim that software patents are preventing innovation. Still they make these and other specious arguments as if they are true.

Software Patent Amici in Support of Petitioner Alice Corporation

That only three briefs are filed in support of Alice Corporation is a little misleading in this case, however, since many of the briefs that were filed in support of neither party come out and directly support the patent eligibility of software. For example, the IBM amicus brief, which was filed in support of neither party, concludes that a Section 101 patent eligibility analysis is the wrong analysis to use in this and similar cases since the abstract idea doctrine is unworkable and yet to be defined by the Supreme Court. IBM suggests the Court use Section 103, the obvious analysis and the well developed case law under KSR, to determine patentability in this and similar cases. Thus, while IBM did not take a position on the specific merits of the case, as with many of the briefs filed, if the Supreme Court were to follow the IBM counsel it would lead to an Alice victory. Even Microsoft/Adobe/HP, which does not support Alice on these claims urged the Supreme Court to find software patent eligible. Thus, characterizing the position of the amici based on whether the support Alice, support CLS Bank or support neither party has proved quite difficult in this matter.

Amici Urge Caution on Software Patents at the Supreme Court

Chief Judge Michel’s brief makes two major recommendations regarding the essential question of software’s patentability. First, Michel states that the criteria for patent eligibility under Section 101 should only exclude those inventions that are clearly patent-ineligible… In his conclusion, Michel argues that, although all patent applications must first be reviewed under Section 101 for eligibility, the evaluations that take place under Sections 102, 103 and 112 should be applied in the overwhelming majority of patent validity cases. In the case of an implied exclusion under Section 101, as in this case, ineligibility should only be applied in the clearest cases where the patent would preempt the most fundamental building blocks of technology.

Software: The Heart and Soul of Many Innovative Advances

Broadly construing and applying the abstract ideas exception would jeopardize countless patents and patent-fostered innovations that are providing real, tangible benefits to all levels of society, and that are helping to fuel the domestic and global economies. Indeed, it is impossible to overstate the economic importance of software and other computer- implemented inventions. Virtually all industries now use computer-implemented inventions in some way… Notably, and notwithstanding the alarmist complaints of some interested parties that are most dependent upon computer-implemented technologies, high-tech industries are neither stagnating nor suffering from a dearth of innovation. To the contrary, these industries are highly competitive, vibrant fonts of innovation and economic vitality. The availability of patent protection for computer-implemented inventions has been a spur, not a bane, to their growth and development.

Supreme Court “Abstract Idea Doctrine” is Unworkable

The reason the abstract idea doctrine is unworkable is because the Supreme Court has never defined what is an abstract idea. The Supreme Court has treated the term “abstract idea” much as they have the term “obscenity”; they know it when they see it. Such a level of subjectivity leads to chaos, which is exactly how the Judges on the Federal Circuit can manage to find themselves evenly split on the issue of whether software is patent eligible. The Supreme Court abhors bright line rules unless they are the ones who announce them. Such an irrational fear of certainty and predictability is curious given how those concepts are so fundamentally important to a functioning judicial system. Still, if they don’t like bright line rules that everyone can follow as announced by the Federal Circuit they at least owe us a workable test that they are willing to endorse.