Look for Brian Tong's new movement on Facebook: pain-ray-free produce. But the rest of us actually think it's kind of cool that the government pain-ray has been re-tasked to warm freezing plants. Also, the Supreme Court has finally ruled in the Bilski patent case, giving us a relatively non-destructive moderate decision. ACTA is ramping up again, and we make a date to go see "The Social Network."Subscribe: iTunes (MP3) | iTunes (320x180) | iTunes (640x360) | RSS (MP3) | RSS (320x180) | RSS (640x360)… Read more
Editors' note: This is a guest column. See Larry Downes' bio below.
Those who hoped the Supreme Court today would finally end the scourge of so-called business method patents will have to wait a little longer.
In the closely watched case of Bilski v. Kappos, the justices on Monday agreed with a lower court and the Patent Office that a claimed system to hedge energy prices using weather projections was merely an "abstract idea" ineligible for patent protection. (See PDF of ruling.)
But the court could not agree on a general prohibition for business method patents urged by … Read more
Anyone hoping that the U.S. Supreme Court would limit the ability to patent software will be disappointed by Monday's ruling.
The court ruled against patent applicants Bernard Bilski and Rand Warsaw (PDF), who in 1997 had tried to patent a process for hedging investments, a process of countering one investment risk with another.
But the majority of justices stopped far short of a broader ruling that would have curbed so-called business method patents -- and perhaps software patents as well.
"The patent application here can be rejected under our precedents on the unpatentability of abstract ideas. The … Read more
Everyone hates patent trolls (except, perhaps, the patent trolls' mothers). But it's easier to despise patent trolls when you either have a lot of patents, or none. What if your company were awarded a significant patent that could be used to shake down Google and the rest of the industry for corporate benefit.
Or buy food for your family?
Is it your fiduciary duty to exercise that patent? Is it a personal duty? And do you have the legal right to do so?
The first two questions are tricky, but the last one is currently being considered by the … Read more