Software Patent: US patent reform, some opinions

Yesterday the House Judiciary Committee held hearings on the Patent Reform Act of 2007 and despite the contention the Congress eventually pushed the legislation through. I collected some opinions and comments from people interested in the matter.

ChangesChanges.. by zephir_350d

Rashmi Rangnath at the Public Knowledge, wrote in her blog:

The Patent Reform Bill of 2007 would change the way damages due to a patent owner are calculated and require that they bear some relation to the value of the patent infringed. Under current law courts do not distinguish between the value of the patented technology and the larger goods containing it.

She also a Christopher Rugaber’s article giving a clear example of, citing Alcatel-Lucent SA vs Microsoft case ($1.52 billion paid by Microsoft to Alcatel-Lucent SA for including infringing MP3 technology in its software).

Last but not least she wrote a very good summary of the new Patent Reform Act of 2007.

Anthony Peterman, patent counsel for Dell Inc. said:

Plaintiffs are exploiting litigation rules and seeking artificially high damages, it’s litigation as a business. This patent reform legislation is needed, and needed now, to help sustain America’s growth and vitality. The problem hurts American competitiveness and the U.S. economy.

Dennis Crouch at PatentlyO wrote an insightful post, that I suggest you to read (there is also a part 1 of it).

Steven Landsburg explains why in his opinion the Kremer proposal does something to alleviate some problems of the patent system. Mark Webbink, general counsel for open source software vendor Red Hat, is told to have expressed hope that the effort would prove effective in changing patent rules, while Richard Fontana, counsel with the Software Freedom Law Center told that:

We are sceptical about whether this [reform] represents any substantial change. To our clients, the open source developers, this reform does not really go to the root of the problem. It is still too easy to get a patent on software out of the US Patent Office that is too broad.

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