We've also issued new guidance to examiners to help ensure that patents cover only "new" and "non-obvious" inventions.
That's impossible in the field of software. There is simply too much activity and too many specialties for the patent office to have any hope of being able to reasonably evaluate whether a claimed invention is novel, or whether it's obvious to a skilled programmer in the relevant specialty.
This is one big reason (though not the only reason) why software is incompatible with the patent system. Patent law has a presumption of validity for issued patents, and that presumption is laughable if it's a software patent.
If millions of people carried machine shops around in their backpacks, mechanical engineering would be incompatible with the patent system too.
I still contend that this is a serious problem in a legal system that includes presumption of validity.
(I recently learned that examiners at the European Patent Office have no direct incentives for granting a patent and may internally bill more working time if they reject a patent application instead. However, as rejecting an application requires a lot more research than granting a patent, examiners still might have an incentive to just grant a patent.)
So "new" and "non-obvious" weren't already requirements?? That explains a lot.
On the off chance that you weren't being ironic, novelty and non-obviousness (to one "skilled in the art") have been requirements for decades.
The author of "we've issued new guidance" is either playing you for a sap or doesn't know patent law.
Ah, another person who doesn't remember when good metal shops in school were nearly universal and even the drones took shop and passed when that meant something.
And yes, it was relatively easy to get the equipment and start making things.
Everyone please sign this petition. The sign up process sucks but it will be worth it to make the Obama spin machine have to respond to this.
How out of character for the Obama administration.
Fixed that for you.
This can only be handled by Congress. They say that. It's a perfectly reasonable response.
Just as important, the president can use the power of his office as a "bully pulpit" to lead his party and the country on this critical issue.
Yes, I suppose Obama could start a push to change software patents, but frankly, there are more important things for him to deal with at the moment.
Congress has still not clarified this question. What should be followed is Supreme Court precedent, i.e. Benson, Flook, Diehr. Theoretically, that's the law until Congress says something different.
The word of the Supreme Court should be actual law, not just theoretical law. It's up to the executive branch to direct the USPTO to follow that law. Patents should be examined consistent with Supreme Court precedent.
If the circuit courts were flouting the judgment of the Supreme Court as blatantly as you allege, how come the Supreme Court hasn't granted certiorari on a suitably iconic case and reiterated its judgment in even clearer terms? It's not like there is any rule that prevents that, a grant of certiorari only requires 4 justices to sign on.
I laid out clearly why I think what I think about Benson, Flook and Diehr in http://ourdoings.com/ourdoings-startup/2011-07-28 and I have yet to see a similar outlay of the arguments for an opposing view.
If I've neglected a question about standards of review, I apologize. Please repeat it.
I'm on my phone at the moment and don't really have the time to write a long article in any case; but in a nutshell I think you are making too many assumptions about the meaning of the SCs words without considering their meaning as legal terms of art.
I wasn't aware of that. However, I suspect that legally, Congress must clarify that before it comes into force as law. But I don't know, the Supreme Court is a funny thing. Good question for a lawyer...
After 10 unsigned days, excluding Sundays, bills become law, unless Congress adjourns before the 10 days expire, at which point it is automatically vetoed—the so-called “pocket veto”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pocket_veto
At town halls, even when he gets a coherent question, he'll go into "let me explain the situation to you rubes" for so long that when he's done talking he's only explained the problem and offered no solutions.
They say things like (not a quote) 'we need to balance both sides' etc even when the idea is truly stupid.
Only a few politicians have some balls to make a decision upfront.
Looks like it's time for a "Answer petitions with something meaningful" petition.
The maddening thing is that I was already logged in (the telltale at the bottom said so), but the Sign button was disabled.
Sent a complaint.
I mean, it's neither practical nor desirable to have the White House do whatever someone can persuade 0.01% of the population to sign a petition for 'em to do. You can rustle up a hundred thousand people to agree with pretty much any stupid idea, nowadays. We'd be legalizing gay marriage one day, banning homosexuality the next, officially declaring that aliens exist on the third day, and adding a narwhal to the US flag on the fourth.
I love this one!
You can tell it's really his by who he's following (The US Gov CTO, The Massachusetts AGO).
EDIT: Well, he appears to have woken up and deleted them, but his tweet stream was filled with weight loss and "make money from home" spam.
As mentioned elsewhere in these White House petition threads, clicking a button on a web form does not (yet) do anything to the political process.
And now that the Fed Circuit in the Bilski case has backed off a bit from their flagrantly wrong In re. Alappat decision and its affirmation in State Street, one could argue that there isn't any court left claiming that software for general-purpose digital computers is patentable.
I'm also interested in arguments for or against the notion that the Federal Circuit overturned themselves in the Bilski case, affirmed by SCOTUS.
If memory serves, Kennedy's arguments in the SCOTUS decision in the Bilski case are based in part on apparent congressional intent. I don't have concrete citations to actual congressional activity; this impression is seeing it alluded to or asserted in decisions such as In re. Bilski. I'm making the assumption that the justices are not totally fabricating, although they may be misinterpreting.
All software can be ported to Haskell.
Haskell is isomorphic to a subset of math.
Therefore, software is math, and is unpatentable.
Further explanation of the Haskell isomorphism you were talking about:
Take special note of the second one, because it has a good explanation of what math is and many people seem to have math confused with whatever they happened to learn in math class.
The example I like is the "Carmack's" reverse shadow algorithm which famously was patented. Its easy enough to invent - I remember thinking in passing and never following up that it could be done when first reading about the "classical" broken stencil shadow implementation. It is a consequence of trivial geometric observations, and the precise operations needed are so simple that there is pretty much one best way to implement it in-terms of an algorithm. "count how many times a ray cast /to/ the camera /from/ infinity enters or exits a shadow volume before hitting the front face of the object we are shading, odd means it is in shadow, even means it is not". sure we can use stencil buffers and xor to implement it efficiently, but its still very simple. Now if we compare it with, say, some cascading shadow map solution then we do have a simple algorithm in shadow mapping "cache the distance from the light to each point in buffer by rendering a z-buffer from the light's perspective, then use the light direction to reconstruct the distance from the light in the main render - if this distance is greater than the value in the buffer then we are in shadow", but the details of the implementation are much more variable - you have a whole choice of buffer types and layouts, rendering techniques etc. and the nature of the algorithm doesn't map well to hardware making for odd things like bias and slope on depth reads/writes. In short they are much more complicated - I think they are probably patentable because the chance of me coming up with that if asked to find some shadowing algorithm with no prior knowledge is extremely low - mostly because it is a very hardware specific approach which makes no sense unless you have z-buffers etc. The Carmack approach is conversely doable on pen and paper by hand very easily... having a patent on it is madness imo because it equates with trivial, intuitive geometry that I'd bet most programmers who never heard of the problem can reinvent on the spot...
You don't need Haskell in particular btw all code is maths owing to lower level things (CPU instructions) - you don't need to convert it to anything for this argument to hold. i.e. All software is isomorhpic with a subset of math.
Not exactly on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard'.
EDIT: It seems there's a non-JS version which works: https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petition-tool/response/promoting...
I should contact the noscript author and ask him to check.
If only a group of wealthy individuals who were interested in improving our political process and decision making could form their own lobbying group...against lobbying!
As we see around here, the best way to change the world is to build something that changes the world, not use government to use its citizens to change society at the point of a gun.
If you want to fix the patent system, build something that fixes the patent system.
Quentin Palfrey is Senior Advisor to CTO for Jobs and Competitiveness at the White House Office of Science amp; Technology Policy
Plus it would give the USPTO plenty of money to actually approve patents in a timely manner.
The cost of the patent system is obvious. The benefits are not.