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[News] Software Patents Ruined by Bilski, FTC to Discuss Possible Reform

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BPAI: “Programmed Computer Method” Not Patentable Subject Matter

,----[ Quote ]
| Halligan's patent application claims a "programmed computer method" that 
| operates to identify trade secret information. (Claim 119). In essence, the 
| computer program has the common law rules of trade secrets hardcoded, and 
| those rules are applied to determine whether particular information is 
| a "trade secret." Applying the machine-or-transformation test of Bilski, the 
| Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) rejected Halligan's claims 
| as lacking patentable subject matter under 35 USC § 101.      
| Under Bilski, "[a] claimed process is surely patent-eligible under § 101 if: 
| (1) it is tied to a particular machine or apparatus, or (2) it transforms a 
| particular article into a different state or thing." To avoid preemption the 
| Federal Circuit emphasized that "the use of a specific machine or 
| transformation of an article must impose meaningful limits on the claim's 
| scope to impart patent-eligibility;" that "the involvement of the machine or 
| transformation in the claimed process must not merely be insignificant 
| extra-solution activity;" and that the transformation "must be central to the 
| purpose of the claimed process."         


FTC Announces First in Series of Hearings on Evolving Intellectual Property

,----[ Quote ]
| The US Federal Trade Commission has announced the first of a possible series 
| of public hearings to explore the evolving market for intellectual property 
| (IP). The hearings will be held beginning on December 5, 2008, in Washington, 
| DC. "The patent system has experienced significant change since the FTC 
| released its first IP Report in October 2003, and more changes are under 
| consideration. The courts and patentees are exploring the full implications 
| of Supreme Court and Federal Circuit decisions on injunctive relief, 
| patentability, and licensing issues. Congress has considered sweeping 
| legislative patent reform, and new debates on the appropriate methods for 
| calculating infringement damages have engaged the patent community. New 
| business models for buying, selling and licensing patents have emerged and 
| evolved since 2003. In addition, there is new learning regarding the 
| operation of the patent system and its contribution to innovation and 
| competition."             



Patent system 'stifling science'

,----[ Quote ]
| The traditional view is that strong patent protection stimulates innovation,
| reassuring companies that it is safe to invest in research without fear of
| being stung by rivals.
| [...]
| The full benefits of synthetic biology and nanotechnology will not be
| realised without urgent reforms to encourage sharing of information, they
| say.

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