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Supreme Court to rule on software patents

  • Amid intensifying scrutiny of software patents and perceived patent trolls, the Supreme Court says it will review whether companies should be able to obtain monopolies on software-related business methods via patent law.
  • The review could represent a challenge to the Federal Circuit Appeals Court, which has routinely sided with patent owners in disputes related to software IP and other matters.
  • The Supreme Court's decision comes shortly after the House passed the Innovation Act, a bill whose supporters argue will significantly cut the number of frivolous U.S. patent suits filed each year. Among other things, the bill requires litigants to list which patents are being infringed when making a complaint, and makes plaintiffs pay court costs if they lose.
  • The White House, which earlier in 2013 issued 5 executive actions and 7 legislative proposals aimed at patent trolls, has voiced its support for the Innovation Act.
  • Potentially affected companies: ACTG, RPXC, VRNG, VHC, WILN, IDCC, RMBS, PRKR.
Comments (10)
  • imac007
    , contributor
    Comments (441) | Send Message
     
    Who wrote this? It is atrocious. The biggest holders of software patents are Microsoft, SaaS providers from, Amazon, SAP, Oracle, Salesforce to other tech companies like a Google and Apple. Wilan own primarily hardware patents and are involved in wireless R&D, why are they being included here? Why are the major holders not listed?

     

    Shoddy, lazy and prejudicial reporting. Selective discrimination at best, harmful, destructive and inaccurate personification at worst. Irresponsible and malicious reporting like this suggests unidentified short sellers are behind the anonymity.
    6 Dec 2013, 03:31 PM Reply Like
  • SA Editor Eric Jhonsa
    , contributor
    Comments (753) | Send Message
     
    You may have noticed the post also touched on the Innovation Act. That's relevant to patent holders in general, whether or not they own software patents.

     

    Microsoft, Oracle, etc. weren't listed because IP licensing is a relatively small part of their businesses, and the companies both gain and lose from IP litigation (since they both sue other companies, and are sued themselves). In terms of top/bottom-line impact, the legal changes being debated are much more important for companies whose businesses revolve around patent licensing.

     

    But thanks for the friendly, even-handed opinion. Much appreciated.
    6 Dec 2013, 03:48 PM Reply Like
  • imac007
    , contributor
    Comments (441) | Send Message
     
    So conglomerates, with thousands of patents, get a pass, give me a break. SAP have close to 30000 patents. Microsoft and Apple even more. The tone of the comment was designed to see who might peek out after hiding behind the anonymity. Your sarcasm about the opinion is duly noted. The title of the piece clearly highlighted "software" patents, so deflecting is not allowed.

     

    The practice of mentioning two separate events is a veiled attempt to connect them but the buttermilk cookies are more crumbly today and Aunt Jemima is reported to be off her meds. The listing of a handful of random companies after referring to the "perceived patent trolls" fails to provide evidence in the case of each company as to who claims to perceive each as a patent troll. If you authored this, I would appreciate your detailing your case in each instance and your reason for perceiving them as "patent trolls". Plus justification of your use of a derogatory term such as "troll" to describe those who would defend their patented ideas from being misappropriated, would seem warranted.
    7 Dec 2013, 01:03 AM Reply Like
  • Dustin Moore
    , contributor
    Comments (273) | Send Message
     
    VirnetX's patents are a far-cry from the patents at hand in CLS Bank Int’l v. Alice. Those patents merely describe a negotiation process that human have previously done and then state that that process implemented via a computer. Little underlying inventive concept exists.
    A generic process was patented under the cloak of a "machine" that does said negotiation.

     

    A SCOTUS ruling would have to be far, far more aggressive against software patents than the Fed Circ to have any meaningful impact on VirnetX. Very, very remote IMO
    6 Dec 2013, 03:48 PM Reply Like
  • David DeWitt
    , contributor
    Comments (4) | Send Message
     
    InterDigital is a wonderful company having contributed major innovations for 2g, 3g, 4g, LTE, WIFI, etc. The fact that our kids are constantly looking at videos their cell phones is because InterDigital invented BCDMA which was adopted into the 3g standards as WCDMA. IDCC pioneered BCDMA which allowed video transmissions over a cellular network. It is unfortunate that the International Trade Commission is afraid to protect this company because big business and big money does not want to pay for the inventions that are making them $billions.
    6 Dec 2013, 04:34 PM Reply Like
  • stockhawk
    , contributor
    Comments (228) | Send Message
     
    Food for thought: If the Innovation Act passes the Senate next year, how will cases currently in the appeals process be dealt with? Will new rules apply only to cases going forward or will a grandfathering be allowed? If I had a legal background it would help understanding these matters. Will be looking for authors stories on this topic soon.
    6 Dec 2013, 04:37 PM Reply Like
  • unabletoplaytennis
    , contributor
    Comments (28) | Send Message
     
    Some software patents are big problems for sure. They are also too obvious but the patent office needs the fees so they granted them.
    6 Dec 2013, 11:52 PM Reply Like
  • unabletoplaytennis
    , contributor
    Comments (28) | Send Message
     
    RMBS is no longer a troll since they make light bulbs and Flashlights.
    6 Dec 2013, 11:53 PM Reply Like
  • mondogrotto27
    , contributor
    Comments (3) | Send Message
     
    The companies you point out are not patent trolls and should not be in the sites of the Fed Govt. They have engineering, R and D, product development, and truly are engaged in innovation to further the technology. Their work should be protected by patents. Patent trolls buy a patent sitting on the shelf somewhere and try to get lucky and sell it to a company making products that may be able to use it and profit from simply owning the patent. I could see companies like VHC being targeted by companies like Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, etc. who have no choice but to pay for the use of the patents. VHC owns critical patents which cannot be circumvented and the big guys do not like it. I am sure their lobbyist are pushing to discredit these companies by the recent push to "steal" these patents from their rightful owners rather than pay for their use. This is the downfall of the USPO. If you develop a patentable concept, you must be ready to spend more in legal fees to defend it. Most do not have these resources and lose it to the big guys. In this case, the big guys are pushing for laws to take away the technology. Money and lobbyists usually win.
    7 Dec 2013, 09:58 AM Reply Like
  • mondogrotto27
    , contributor
    Comments (3) | Send Message
     
    Worked as an electrical engineer for several major Electronics companies during the early years of cellular technology development to include AT&T and one of the cellular start up spinoffs from the former Bell System.
    7 Dec 2013, 09:58 AM Reply Like
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