Software Patents Under United States Patent Law
Software or computer programs are not explicitly mentioned in United States patent law. Patent law changed to address new technologies and decisions of the United States Supreme Court and United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) in the latter part of the 20th century sought to clarify the boundary between patent-eligible and patent-ineligible subject matter for a number of new technologies including computers and software.
The status eligibility of software for patent protection per se has not been directly addressed by either the courts or the legislature. The expression "software patent" itself has not been clearly defined. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has permitted patents to be issued whose description included nothing but the steps of involved in the execution of software on a general purpose computer. Courts have both upheld such patents as valid and struck down such patents as invalid.
No overall ruling with respect to software patents eligibility per se has been issued by either the courts or the legislature.
Famous quotes containing the words patent, states, law and/or united:
“There is a patent office at the seat of government of the universe, whose managers are as much interested in the dispersion of seeds as anybody at Washington can be, and their operations are infinitely more extensive and regular.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“So the brother in black offers to these United States the source of courage that endures, and laughter.”
—Zora Neale Hurston (18911960)
“I hope I may claim in the present work to have made it probable that the laws of arithmetic are analytic judgments and consequently a priori. Arithmetic thus becomes simply a development of logic, and every proposition of arithmetic a law of logic, albeit a derivative one. To apply arithmetic in the physical sciences is to bring logic to bear on observed facts; calculation becomes deduction.”
—Gottlob Frege (18481925)
“The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth. A Galileo could no more be elected President of the United States than he could be elected Pope of Rome. Both posts are reserved for men favored by God with an extraordinary genius for swathing the bitter facts of life in bandages of soft illusion.”
—H.L. (Henry Lewis)