22.06.2014 10:20

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against software patents and patents ideas

The U.S. Supreme Court in the proceedings “Alice Corp. Against CLS Bank International” acknowledged (PDF) invalidity patenting ideas and algorithms, designed in the form of instructions for execution on a computer.

Company Alice Corp. tried to prove that it obtained a patent  idea of ​​a sufficient basis for the collection of contributions, because it describes the implementation of the ideas in the form of programs to run on your computer. Court of Justice disagreed with this opinion and took the side of the defendant, recognizing that the implementation of the abstract ideas in the form of a computer program, it only changes the method description and allows you to turn this idea into an invention, suitable for patenting.

Recently, a number of software patents has risen dramatically, as manufacturers use software patents as an arsenal for the pressure on each other. It is noted that this decision is an important precedent that will not only recognize the illegality of software patents in similar cases and reduce the number of abuses application of patent law to software, but is one more argument in favor of patent reform. ACT Foundation welcomed the court’s decision, as it will simplify the life of free software, which until now had to “walk through a minefield,” looking for ways to circumvent the false patent claims.

It is noteworthy that, as an independent party to the proceedings, the court is interested in making adequate decisions jointly by the Free Software Foundation, a human rights organization Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), engaged in the provision of professional legal assistance to developers of open source software, and organization of OSI (Open Source Initiative), The validation of licenses for eligibility Open Source. These organizations have pointed out that the check “mechanism or transformation” already discussed in the “Bilski v. Kappos”, is sufficient for approval of the possibility of patenting the technology. In accordance with the principle of “mechanism or transformation” to be patentable processes must be tied to a specific mechanism or device and must convert the object to a different state at the physical level. Patents describing the ideas contained in the software fails to meet the “machine or transformation”.

Furthermore, it was demonstrated that software patents have not been applied at the birth of the computer industry and experience suggests that the absence of patents in this area will not jeopardize the pace of promoting innovation in software development as innovation in software is fueled by free exchange of ideas and open publication, but not through the provision of a monopoly on ideas. As an example was given of the history of the free computer software movement and the use of open source software computer industry worldwide, including the largest holders of patents.