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Submission + - USPTO considers Bilski and software patents

ciaran_o_riordan writes: A month after the Supreme court rejected Bilski, the USPTO published updated Interim Guidance (pdf) and called for comment. Bilski wasn't as wide-reaching a ruling as most parties thought it would be, so a certain amount of textual digging is needed to find the aspects that can help us reduce software patenting at the USPTO and in future court cases. The End Software Patents campaign sent some such comments. FSF also published a call for participation and got cc'd on over 450 responses. When these comments are published on, and when the USPTO publishes its revised guidelines, we'll have a conservative idea of what effects Bilski will have.

Submission + - Supreme's throw out Bilski patent (

ciaran_o_riordan writes: The US Supreme Court has finally decided the Bilski case! We've known that Bilski's patent would get thrown out; that was clear from the open mockery from the judges during last November's hearing. The big question is, since rejecting a particular patent requries providing a general test and explaining why this patent fails that test, how broad will their test be? Will it try to kill the plague of software patents? and is their test designed well enough to stand up to the army of patent lawyers who'll be making a science (and a career) of minimising and circumventing it? The judges have created a new test, so this will take some reading before any degree of victory can be declared. The important part is pages 5-16 of the PDF, which is the majority opinion. The End Software Patents campaign is already analysing the decision, and collecting other analyses. Some background is available at Late-comers guide: What is Bilski anyway?.

Submission + - Venture capitalists lobby against software patents (

ciaran_o_riordan writes: No matter which side the US Supreme Court's Bilski decision pleases, it will be just the beginning of the software patent debate in the USA — the other side will start a legislative battle. The lobbying has already begun with venture capitalist Brad Feld arguing against software patents, mailing a copy of Patent Absurdity to 200 patent policy setters. As Feld puts it, "Specifically, I'm hoping the film will bring you to an understanding of why patents on software are a massive tax on and retardant of innovation in the US." The patent lawyers and big patent holders often tell us that patents are needed to secure investment, so it's interesting to see now that venture capitalists are refuting that. And Brad Feld's not the only vocal one, there's a growing list.

Submission + - Bilski, the movie: Patent Absurdity ( 2

ciaran_o_riordan writes: With the Supreme Court still working on the Bilski ruling (due before the Summer break), FSF has published a film: Patent Absurdity: how software patents broke the system. Most players in the patents game have an interest in making it sound as complicated as possible. Using the Bilski case as a backdrop, independent film-maker Luca Lucarini explains the situation for a general audience and looks at the series of court cases that dumped software and business method patents on us. The story is told through interviews with Dan Bricklin, Timothy B. Lee, Mark Webbink, Eben Moglen, Dan Ravicher and others. All video production done with free software, and there's a good symphonie at the end.

Mommy, what happens to your files when you die?