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July 15, 2010


Scott Dunn

There may be hope yet for software patent opponents. See here:

It's a BPAI case called "Ex parte GRAEME JOHN PROUDLER", where a software patent application was rejected for being an abstract idea. Nice. Hopefully, this is the start of a trend.


Excellent post.

I agree with Brann in that the prohibitively high cost of invalidating granted patents is often ignored in more academically-inclined debates.

In my mind some creative thought needs to go into solving the problems discussed in the post. Some potential ideas (which are not necessarily good!):
- Find some way to heavily reduce the cost of post-grant invalidity proceeding (there have been some interesting thoughts in the UK on this);
- Have more rigorous obviousness examination, maybe making more use of third party observations;
- Force the limiting of business method claims to more specific fields;
- Create a "third" patent stream with rapid prosecution but limited rights somewhere between utility/design and full patents for software / business methods;
- Cross-link searchable software copyright registers with patent examination;
- Reduced cost / liability for non-manufacturers;
- Educate on use of patents; etc.

patent litigation

I don't think the issue here necessarily has to do with either "patent trolls" or business method patents. Rather, I think the root of the problem lies in patent quality and the examination process. There should be higher patent grant standards and better provisions for re-examination. Seems to me that, with a better examination/re-examination process, many of these patents could have been rejected on "abstract idea" or obviousness grounds.

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