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US appeals court asks whether to limit software patents

Grant Gross | Feb. 8, 2013
Should an abstract idea written into software and run on a computer be patentable? That's one question a U.S. appeals court will consider Friday when it hears arguments in a case with broad implications for software patents for companies as diverse as Google and Red Hat.

"It's really hard to know what the law is," she added.

The EFF has been a leading critic of software patents, but Samuels said she doesn't see the Federal Circuit abolishing them. "In a perfect world, we'd probably not have these patents at all," she said. "But I don't have much hope that's where the Federal Circuit is going to come down."

Martinson said he doesn't believe the court will invalidate software patents. "Think about the policy implications of that," he said. "Look at all the companies that write software and protect their ideas. That's sort of what [U.S. businesses] do now on some level."

If the court invalidates software patents, "I'd have to find a new gig," he added.

 

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