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Patent Office finds voice, calls for software patent sanity
Written by Daniel   
Monday, 28 July 2008 12:04
The US Patent and Trademark Office is a convenient whipping boy for problems with the patent system.

By Timothy B. Lee | Published: July 28, 2008 - 10:25AM CT

 The USPTO famously approved the junk patents at the heart of the legal battle between Research in Motion and a patent-trolling firm called NTP. The USPTO belatedly recognized its mistake and began invalidating the patents, but didn't finish the job in time to save RIM from being forced to pay $612.5 million to avoid having its whole BlackBerry network shut down. Perhaps shaken by the negative publicity generated from that case and others, the USPTO seems to have gotten religion on patent quality. Over the last year, the courts have heard a series of cases in which the Patent Office has rejected software-related applications. The legal theories advanced by the Patent Office in these cases are causing consternation among software patent supporters.

In an article last week at Patently-O, law professor John Duffy warns that the Patent Office has staked out positions that, if accepted by the courts, would amount to the de facto abolition of software patents. He's right that the Patent Office has become increasingly hostile to software patents in the last couple of years. However, it's far from clear that the end of software patents is imminent. And Duffy is dead wrong to suggest that fewer software patents would be bad for innovation.  [ARS Technica...]   [Comments...]

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