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Intellectual Property Law

University of Michigan Law School

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

Software

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Symbols, Systems, And Software As Intellectual Property: Time For Contu, Part Ii?, Timothy K. Armstrong May 2018

Symbols, Systems, And Software As Intellectual Property: Time For Contu, Part Ii?, Timothy K. Armstrong

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

The functional nature of computer software underlies two propositions that were, until recently, fairly well settled in intellectual property law: first, that software, like other utilitarian articles, may qualify for patent protection; and second, that the scope of copyright protection for software is comparatively limited. Both propositions have become considerably shakier as a result of recent court decisions. Following Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l, 134 S. Ct. 2347 (2014), the lower courts have invalidated many software patents as unprotectable subject matter. Meanwhile, Oracle America v. Google Inc., 750 F.3d 1339 (Fed. Cir. 2014) extended far more expansive copyright protection …


Structure From Nothing And Claims For Free: Using A Whole-System View Of The Patent System To Improve Notice And Predictability For Software Patents, Holly K. Victorson Jan 2014

Structure From Nothing And Claims For Free: Using A Whole-System View Of The Patent System To Improve Notice And Predictability For Software Patents, Holly K. Victorson

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

No uniform or customary method of disclosure for software patents is currently employed by inventors. This Note examines the issues that develop from software patent claims disclosed at various levels of abstraction, and the difficulties encountered by courts and the public when investigating the contours of the software patent space. While the courts have placed some restrictions on the manner in which software inventions are claimed, they are easily bypassed by clever patent applicants who desire to claim the maximum scope of their inventions. In the long run, however, a large “patent thicket” of overlapping and potentially overbroad inventions will …


Not All Bad: An Historical Perspective On Software Patents, Martin Campbell-Kelly Apr 2005

Not All Bad: An Historical Perspective On Software Patents, Martin Campbell-Kelly

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

This Paper places the current debates about software patents in the historical context of patenting in the information technology industries. The first computer-program products were sold in the mid 1960s when software patents were not generally allowed; as a result, trade secrecy became endemic to the software industry. Software products were also protected by copyright, but in practice this offered little protection against most forms of appropriation by reverse engineering or cloning. By the early 1980s a series of landmark cases led to the acceptance of software patents. It is argued that this development was consistent with the patenting of …


To Innovate Or Not To Innovate, That Is The Question: The Functions, Failures, And Foibles Of The Reward Function Theory Of Patent Law In Relation To Computer Software Platforms , Seth A. Cohen Jun 1999

To Innovate Or Not To Innovate, That Is The Question: The Functions, Failures, And Foibles Of The Reward Function Theory Of Patent Law In Relation To Computer Software Platforms , Seth A. Cohen

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

The patent system has traditionally been viewed as having two primary functions: the reward function and the prospect function. Although these theories do explain some behavior which results from the practical applications of the patent system, they also overlook some behavior of the patent system which indicates a failure of these functions. In order to properly prevent such failure, this paper proposes that the patent system adopt an orientation that will lead to increased innovative rivalry and competition. In Part I, using the computer operating system software market as an example, I propose a framework for reconceptualizing patent protection as …


Copyright, Licensing, And The First Screen , Ronald A. Cass Jun 1999

Copyright, Licensing, And The First Screen , Ronald A. Cass

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

As patent, copyright, and other intellectual property rights have assumed greater economic importance, the manner in which those rights are used has come under increased scrutiny. Recently filed antitrust litigation against Microsoft Corporation, for example, focuses on the terms under which Microsoft has licensed its Windows® operating system to computer manufacturers (generally referenced as OEMs, for Original Equipment Manufacturers). In particular, parties to the litigation complain about the license agreements' requirement that the first screen to appear when customers initially turn on ("boot up") a computer display certain features common across all Windows-based platforms. The "first screen provision" has been …


Escaping The World Of I Know It When I See It: A New Test For Software Patent Ability, Brooke Schumm Iii Jun 1996

Escaping The World Of I Know It When I See It: A New Test For Software Patent Ability, Brooke Schumm Iii

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

The major thesis presented in this article is a focused standard of software patentability, in particular for pure computational methods or algorithms directed to the manipulation of numbers operating on a computer. The general philosophy is to compel inventors to narrow their claims to an algorithm expressed in terms of its utility and then to require that the particular utility or functionality be expressed in the claim as a limit on the claim, thus precluding the patent monopoly from being overbroad. As a corollary, any person is free to use or perhaps to patent the algorithm for a different utility …


Software Developers Want Changes In Patent And Copyright Law, David A. Burton Jun 1996

Software Developers Want Changes In Patent And Copyright Law, David A. Burton

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

Most software developers do not oppose all software copyrights. There is broad support for basic copyright protection of computer programs which prohibits directly copying computer programs without the author's permission. Nearly all commercial software is copyrighted, and most programmers agree that such protection is necessary in order for software development to be profitable. However, software patents and "look and feel" copyrights go well beyond this to prohibit other programmers from independently writing even programs that are similar to the protected program. Such constraints are strongly resented by many in the software development community who long for the good old days …


Information Wants To Be Free, But The Packaging Is Going To Cost You, Gregory A. Stobbs Jun 1996

Information Wants To Be Free, But The Packaging Is Going To Cost You, Gregory A. Stobbs

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

The question is this: where do we draw the line between private ownership and the public domain? It is not a question of choosing between copyright and patent, of choosing between hardware and software, or of choosing between implementation and algorithm. It is a more fundamental question that reaches back to ancient human values and transcends our current fixation on computers and software. It helps to put things in perspective. When debating where we and the law are headed (as we are now), it helps to know where we have been. In this regard, do not assume that software patents …


Comments In Response To The Patent And Trademark Office's Proposed Examination Guidelines For Computer-Implemented Inventions, Robert R. Sachs Jun 1996

Comments In Response To The Patent And Trademark Office's Proposed Examination Guidelines For Computer-Implemented Inventions, Robert R. Sachs

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

The Guidelines reflect a policy decision that computer-implemented inventions require both hardware and software elements. This policy decision and definition present several important issues. First, do the Guidelines accurately reflect and accommodate the practices of the software industry and software engineers? Second, do the Guidelines accurately reflect the current case law?


Sofware Patents And The Information Economy, Michael Perelman Jun 1996

Sofware Patents And The Information Economy, Michael Perelman

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

Modern economists universally acknowledge that information is an essential component of productivity. Moreover, as they begin to focus more and more on the nature of information, their conception of information widens considerably.


Software Patents--Just Make A Good Thing Better, David R. Syrowik Jun 1996

Software Patents--Just Make A Good Thing Better, David R. Syrowik

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

Some have stated that software is somehow "different" from other technologies and must be treated differently. Others have gone so far as to advocate the abolition of patents for software-related technologies. I disagree with both propositions. I believe a heavy burden rests on those who advocate that a particular field of technology should be exempted from the patent system absent a statutory prohibition. Software-related technology should be treated under the U.S. patent laws as any other technology would be treated. Otherwise, investment in the software industry will be negatively impacted. The current patent system is vital to the protection of …