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Canada Patents The Courts Your Rights Online

Canada's Federal Court of Appeal To Rule On Business Methods 34

Posted by Soulskill
from the must-need-a-distraction-from-the-maple-leafs dept.
ciaran_o_riordan writes "After last month's unfortunate ruling by Canada's Federal Court that Amazon's 1-click shopping idea could be patented, the Commissioner of Patents and the Attorney General of Canada have filed notice (PDF) to Amazon.com, Inc. (respondent) that an 'appeal will be heard by the [Federal Court of Appeal] at a time and place fixed by the Judicial Administrator,' probably Ottawa. This case, called Canada's Bilski, has been in the works since Amazon filed their patent application all the way back in 1998. Just like Bilski, the object of this case is what subject matter is and isn't patentable — a question which will create crucial case law, making participation in this case important. Anyone looking for more background, particularly those interested in helping to prepare an amicus brief for this case, is welcome at ESP's wiki page."
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Canada's Federal Court of Appeal To Rule On Business Methods

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  • Just another case which proves that software patents actually can work !!!!
  • by PerformanceDude (1798324) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @08:40PM (#34361620)
    Software and business methods should not be patentable - if for no other reason that most software patents are written by lawyers and therefore incomprehensible. Time and time again we are required in software contracts to warrant that we do not infringe on third party rights including patents. It is an impossible warranty to give as it is impossible to know if you do. There are so many software patents granted in so many esoteric minute little areas that for any remotely complex software you could spend a lifetime searching and trying to figure out if you did infringe on someone's patent. And the odds are very high that somehow you do. So you sign the contract knowing full well that you most likely are in breach, but the odds of you getting sued are sufficiently low to take the risk. How software and business method patents could possibly encourage innovation is beyond me.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tomhudson (43916)
      Especially not patents on stuff that's an inevitable result.

      1. IF the person is not logged in, then they have to log in to pay for something/

      2. IF the person is logged in, if they don't have payment info on hand, request it.

      3 IF the person is logged in and their payment info is on hand, just let them buy it.

      There's no "creativity" in what's an obvious step - and actually easier to implement than a shopping cart.

      -- Barbie

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AchilleTalon (540925)
      Well, you are wrong, it encourages innovation in many ways, just think about how the lawyers are innovative finding new stuff to patent.
    • you should be moderated way higher than you are, This phares is insidhgtfull as hell :

      So you sign the contract knowing full well that you most likely are in breach, but the odds of you getting sued are sufficiently low to take the risk. How software and business method patents could possibly encourage innovation is beyond me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by VanGarrett (1269030)

      It encourages innovation by, in a legal sense, forcing developers to come up with new ways to accomplish given tasks.

      Granted, this theory, while good, falls short of the goal. There may be a thousand different routes you can take to get to Disneyland from your house, but only one of them will be the fastest, and most of them will be ridiculous. If lawyers and law makers understood this sort of logic, then we'd be in a much better place, now.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by WidgetGuy (1233314)

      Software and business methods should not be patentable - if for no other reason that most software patents are written by lawyers and therefore incomprehensible.

      Almost all patents are written by (patent) lawyers. I do know one guy who received two "method" patents and wrote each one himself. But, that's the exception to the rule. Patents appear to be incomprehensible by design. Call it job security for patent lawyers. If we apply your criteria to all patents, we'd have very few patents (and fewer patent lawyers). Good luck with that.

      Time and time again we are required in software contracts to warrant that we do not infringe on third party rights including patents. It is an impossible warranty to give as it is impossible to know if you do. There are so many software patents granted in so many esoteric minute little areas that for any remotely complex software you could spend a lifetime searching and trying to figure out if you did infringe on someone's patent. And the odds are very high that somehow you do. So you sign the contract knowing full well that you most likely are in breach, but the odds of you getting sued are sufficiently low to take the risk.

      The courts are fully aware of how it would be impossible for any individual to have complete knowledge of all patents that exi

    • Software and business methods should not be patentable - if for no other reason that most software patents are written by lawyers and therefore incomprehensible.

      If that's your sole reason, then why should anything be patentable? Machines? Nope, those patents are written by lawyers. Pharmaceutical compounds? Nope, written by lawyers.

      Really, it seems that your complaint is that you can't understand it. Should we abolish software because many people can't read assembly?

      Time and time again we are required in software contracts to warrant that we do not infringe on third party rights including patents. It is an impossible warranty to give as it is impossible to know if you do. There are so many software patents granted in so many esoteric minute little areas that for any remotely complex software you could spend a lifetime searching and trying to figure out if you did infringe on someone's patent. And the odds are very high that somehow you do. So you sign the contract knowing full well that you most likely are in breach, but the odds of you getting sued are sufficiently low to take the risk. How software and business method patents could possibly encourage innovation is beyond me.

      Again, the same holds true in every industry. If your complaint is about all patents, then argue that. By only complaining about software and business methods, your arguments are inherently inconsisten

    • Just what is the difference between 'hardware' patents and software patents or even business methods?

      I understand people who are against all patents.
      I understand people who are patents in all industries.

      I don't get people who seem to think a patent on an innovation on say a new engine is valid... whereas software patents are not.
      I remember a while ago, I saw an ad for the Toyota Prius... and it bragged it had over 1000 patents. Hands up if you think GM, Ford, Honda... in their regular day to day product de

  • Anonymous Coward (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Relax guys, it's only happened at the First Instance Court. These kinds of decisions need to be taken by the Supreme Court before having full effect. In time, it will get there and we will know the state of the Law, for now just be patient.

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @10:17PM (#34362022)

    "...After last month's unfortunate ruling by Canada's Federal Court that Amazon's 1-click shopping idea could be patented..."

    It's been my understanding that the only things that are patentable are 'methods' but not 'ideas'. So are we in the regime that supports the notion of patenting ideas?

    If that's the case, I better file a patent application for the idea of having the computer 'read my mind' then enable the typing of my thoughts. This can be useful in saving folks what has come to be known as carpal tunnel syndrome.

    How about that?

    • Something enabling the typing of your thoughts would be patentable according to Phelan:

      Tangibility is not an issue. The “physical effect”, transformation or change of character resides in the customer manipulating their computer and creating an order. It matters not that the “goods” ordered are not physically changed.

      Per Phelan, you are changed.

  • by east coast (590680) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @10:29PM (#34362086)
    The Canadians have the situation in hand [youtube.com].
  • ...can they rule on what is and isn't "obvious" and what is and isn't "prior art"? These terms clearly don't have the same meaning in the world of business method patents that they do in patents for physical devices, let alone common language.
  • why the editorial? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by numbscholar (1939936) <numbscholar@gmail.com> on Saturday November 27, 2010 @10:54PM (#34362188)
    I'm not trying to be a troll or anything, honestly I'm new to Slashdot, but why would they report a court ruling as "unfortunate"? I honestly don't know enough about the issue yet to have an informed opinion, but it seems the poster or Slashdot wants for me to have the preconception that this is not a good thing.
    • by Haedrian (1676506)
      The general consensus about /. users is that software patents ruin the economy and are an immensly stupid idea.

      So the editor is basically speaking the majority consensus. That said, I doubt anyone wants to have one click shopping patented - except of course Amazon.
      • by vegiVamp (518171)

        You are mistaken: quite a few people want one-click shopping patented - Amazon was just the first to think of it.

        • by Haedrian (1676506)
          Only because they want to deny the other people use of one-click shopping.

          What I meant is "I doubt anyone wants Amazon to have the one-click shopping patent"

          If there was no patent, everyone could have one-click shopping and be happy.
    • I'm not trying to be a troll or anything, honestly I'm new to Slashdot, but why would they report a court ruling as "unfortunate"? I honestly don't know enough about the issue yet to have an informed opinion, but it seems the poster or Slashdot wants for me to have the preconception that this is not a good thing.

      Ciaran, the article poster, runs the "End Software Patents" wiki. Although a nice guy, he clearly has a bias in this area. Take the summary with a grain of salt.

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