ISOC-NY lunchtime lecture - Patent Law at a Crossroads: Bilski and Beyond - Mon 11/2

From: Joly M.
Sent on: Saturday, October 31, 2009 6:38 PM
Happy Halloween from ISOC-NY!

The coming Supreme Court decision in the appeal of the 'Bilski' patent ruling is definitely a trick-or-treat situation for those involved in the fight over software patents whether pro or con..

A week before arguments begin, the Internet Society ? New York Chapter (ISOC-NY) is happy and interested to co-sponsor, with the Intellectual Property Law Society, a lunchtime lecture at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law next Monday Nov[masked] where Eben Moglen, Chairman of the Software Freedom Law Center, will speak on the topic ? ?Patent Law at a Crossroads: Bilski and Beyond?.

What: ISOC-NY lunchtime lecture - ?Patent Law at a Crossroads: Bilski and Beyond?
When: Mon Nov[masked]: 12pm ? 1.30pm
Where: Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
Brookdale Center ? Rm. 423
55 Fifth Avenue @ 12th Street
New York, NY 10003
Adm. free. Public welcome.

Much of the rise of software patents is based on the 1998 Federal Circuit State Street decision upholding a 1993 patent on a financial method. An ?invention? was deemed patentable if it involved some practical application and ?it produces a useful, concrete and tangible result.?

In In re Bilski and Warsaw ? United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit , in a Nov 2008 decision, upheld an earlier court that rejected the appellant?s demand that it?s method of trading weather risk be awarded a patent, folllowing rejection by the USPTO in 2006.

The USPTO opined that the method was an abstract idea ?and solves a purely mathematical problem without any limitation to a practical application, therefore, the invention is not directed to the technological arts.?

In the appeal both ACLU and Red Hat filed amicus briefs arguing that decision was important because it could be applied to algorithms, which are at the heart of many software patents.

In the light of this the court specifically stated that its decision DID NOT apply to software patents, but just to some business methods.

However, the useful-concrete-tangible test was jettisoned. According to the Bilski opinion, the ??useful, concrete and tangible result inquiry? is inadequate,? and the portions of the State Street decision relying on this inquiry are no longer of any effect under US patent law.

The case has been taken up by the Supreme Court, and oral arguments will be heard on Nov 9 2009.

It the decision stands, the rug has been pulled out from under many existing patents, and since the ?technological? limitation posited in Bilski is a somewhat nebulous concept, many more are on dubious ground.

We expect Eben Moglen, in what is sure to be an edifying talk, to clarify just how dubious, and exactly where the weakest links exist.

We will videotape for later webcast.

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