Mathematics Cannot Be Patented. Case Dismissed.

Mathematics Cannot Be Patented. Case Dismissed. by Alan Schoenbaum.

From the post:

Score one for the good guys. Rackspace and Red Hat just defeated Uniloc, a notorious patent troll. This case never should have been filed. The patent never should have been issued. The ruling is historic because, apparently, it was the first time that a patent suit in the Eastern District of Texas has been dismissed prior to filing an answer in the case, on the grounds that the subject matter of the patent was found to be unpatentable. And was it ever unpatentable.

Red Hat indemnified Rackspace in the case. This is something that Red Hat does well, and kudos to them. They stand up for their customers and defend these Linux suits. The lawyers who defended us deserve a ton of credit. Bill Lee and Cynthia Vreeland of Wilmer Hale were creative and persuasive, and their strategy to bring the early motion to dismiss was brilliant.

The patent at issue is a joke. Uniloc alleged that a floating point numerical calculation by the Linux operating system violated U.S. Patent 5,892,697 – an absurd assertion. This is the sort of low quality patent that never should have been granted in the first place and which patent trolls buy up by the bushel full, hoping for fast and cheap settlements. This time, with Red Hat’s strong backing, we chose to fight.

The outcome was just what we had in mind. Chief Judge Leonard Davis found that the subject matter of the software patent was unpatentable under Supreme Court case law and, ruling from the bench, granted our motion for an early dismissal. The written order, which was released yesterday, is excellent and well-reasoned. It’s refreshing to see that the judiciary recognizes that many of the fundamental operations of a computer are pure mathematics and are not patentable subject matter. We expect, and hope, that many more of these spurious software patent lawsuits are dismissed on similar grounds.

A potential use case for a public topic map on patents?

At least on software patents?

Thinking that a topic map could be constructed of all the current patents that address mathematical operations, enabling academics and researchers to focus on factual analysis of the processes claimed by those patents.

From the factual analysis, other researchers, primarily lawyers and law students, could outline legal arguments, tailored for each patent, as to its invalidity.

A community resource, not unlike a patent bank, that would strengthen the community’s hand when dealing with patent trolls.

PS: I guess this means I need to stop working on my patent for addition. 😉

Comments are closed.