Patentes de software americanas podem estar próximas do fim

As patentes de software nos Estados Unidos poderão estar próximas do fim ou, pelo menos, de sofrer um ataque que as deixará bastante debilitadas.

O projecto End Software Patents, uma iniciativa que conta com a participação da Free Software Foundation e de várias empresas ligadas à tecnologia que preferem manter o anonimato, vai pedir a reabertura do caso Bilski. Isto, de acordo com o End Software Patentes, poderá significar a extinção das patentes de software nos Estados Unidos da América.

Abaixo, deixo transcrito o email que recebi de uma das listas da Free Software Foundation, info-fsf mailing list, sobre este assunto.
BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA -- April 8, 2008 -- End Software Patents
(ESP) has filed an amicus curiae brief in the Court of Appeals for the
Federal Circuit's (CAFC) rehearing of the In re Bilski case. The
rehearing could lead to the elimination of patents on software. ESP
executive director Ben Klemens said, "This is an historic opportunity to
fix the US patent system, as the Bilski rehearing will directly address
the boundaries of the subject matter of patents. In our brief, the End
Software Patents project supports the Supreme Court's long-held position
that computer software should not be patentable, and has highlighted to
the Court the real economic harm software patents cause the US economy."

With the boundary to what can be patented effectively destroyed by
previous Federal Circuit rulings, massive-scale liability has been
created throughout the US economy. ESP's brief also demonstrates that
this liability is not merely a theoretical prediction, but a real
economic harm. Over the last few months alone, ESP has tallied over
fifty non-software companies being sued for infringement regarding their
web sites or other course-of-business software, including the Green Bay
Packers, McDonald's, Dole Foods, Kraft Foods, Caterpillar, J Crew,
Burlington Coat Factory, Wal-Mart, and Tire Kingdom. The rest of this
list can be found at http://endsoftpatents.org/a-litany-of-lawsuits

Ironically, the Federal Circuit's own web site at
http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/ is produced using software that likely
infringes some number of software patents. In fact, the last decade of
software patents has brought about many onerous and frivolous lawsuits,
inspiring Congressional action and causing many to question the entire
patent system. Many patents famous as the rallying points for patent
opposition, such as the "Blackberry patents" from NTP v. Research in
Motion, Ltd., have been software patents.

ESP's brief points out that these patents centered on claims over pure
information. Under US law, pure information is not patentable. Further,
the Supreme Court ruled three times that pure information does not
necessarily become patentable when recited in combination with a
physical object, such as information written to paper or loaded into a
computer's memory. However, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
ignored the Supreme Court's repeated rulings, and began allowing patents
on information plus any physical component: a formula, if saved to a
computer's hard drive; a price list, if money is eventually moved; not a
correlation, but the act of correlating. The ESP brief recommends
re-establishing the Supreme Court's rule that information should not be
patentable, even when claimed in tandem with a physical afterthought.

In its review, the Federal Circuit rehearing of the In re Bilski case
will address three issues essential to the patentability of software:

1. What standard should govern in determining whether a process is
patent-eligible subject matter?

2. Is the claimed subject matter not patentable because it
constitutes an abstract idea or mental process? When does a claim that
contains both mental and physical steps create patent-eligible subject
matter?

3. Must a method or process result in a physical transformation of an
article or be tied to a machine to be patent-eligible subject matter?

ESP's amicus brief can be found at http://endsoftpatents.org/bilski The
rehearing will take place on Thursday May 8, 2008.

About End Software Patents

End Software Patents is a project formed to eliminate patents for
software and other designs with no physically innovative step. It
promotes a US technology-development environment which will drive
innovation and growth in the global marketplace. End Software Patents
receives sponsorship from the Free Software Foundation. For more
information on participating in the project, or to access its knowledge
base, please visit its website at http://endsoftpatents.org
Media Contacts

Ben Klemens
Executive Director
End Software Patents
esp@nosoftpatents.org

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publicado por brunomiguel às 23:59 | link do post | comentar