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Recent rulings show tide may be turning against patent trolls


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Patent Case Rulings Analysis
Patent trolls' days of effortlessly rolling into court and collecting licensing fees for products they don't produce may be coming to an end. The Washington Post reports that courts have been increasingly citing the landmark 1978 Supreme Court case Parker v. Flook, which is the strongest ruling that the court has ever made against patents for abstract ideas such as algorithms. Given that courts are applying the Parker v. Flook precedent more often in software patent cases, it seems that courts are starting to reassert control over what can and cannot be patented. The Post acknowledges that "not every citation of Flook means that a patent was invalidated" but says that "it’s at least a sign that the courts are wrestling with the limits the high court articulated more than three decades ago."RGp3AB0LD3I


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Sincity, thank you for an Extremely Interesting post!  Readers, click on the links in the story.


Some of these Patent Trolls are trying to patent the software equivalent of the idea of wheels, and then claim fees from every company that uses any kind of software 'round shape' thereafter.


Part of the problem is said to be the technical incompetence of US patent examiners.  They don't know what is "prior art" in software and what is actually new.  A link in sincity's posted article says that some Patent Trolls try to patent vague ideas and claim ownership, without actually demonstrating a "working model".  Back in the 1800s especially, to patent a new steam engine, you had to actually build at least a working model of one, and demonstrate it to the US Patent Office.


I remember an article about someone who patented the idea of graphics-paging, which was definitely "prior art" and had been in use for a couple of decades.  That is, to build a graphics image in memory and then quickly copying it to display memory, instead of building it in display memory only.  Display memory is that which is sent to the graphics display device.


Apple could not patent the mouse and the Graphical User Interface because these ideas had been invented by Xerox at it's PARC facility, though their people did visit and copy those ideas, among others.  Wikipedia says that Xerox got pre-IPO stock from Apple in exchange for 'engineering visits.'







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