Google and Facebook lead group seeking stricter guidelines for tech patents


As the US Patent and Trademark Office mulls the validity of Apple’s multi-touch patent, a group of tech companies led by Google and Facebook is asking that the courts reconsider granting such rights for vague tech concepts. Their plea was submitted as an amicus curiae brief as part of a current dispute between CLS and Alice in which CLS argues that Alice’s patents for computer-based financial intermediation are too vague.

The case is in the appeals process after an initial ruling landed in favor of Alice and the company’s portfolio of patents. Now Google and company hope to use their weight to sway a decision by backing CLS’s claims with documents that detail a lack of innovation in patents that fail to describe specific implementations of technical ideas.

Here is the general argument set forth by Google, Facebook and a group consisting of Zynga, Dell, Intuit, Homeaway, Rackspace, and Red Hat:

“Many computer-related patent claims just describe an abstract idea at a high level of generality and say to perform it on a computer or over the Internet. Such barebones claims grant exclusive rights over the abstract idea itself, with no limit on how the idea is implemented. Granting patent protection for such claims would impair, not promote, innovation by conferring exclusive rights on those who have not meaningfully innovated, and thereby penalizing those that do later innovate by blocking or taxing their applications of the abstract idea.”

We’d say that just about hits the nail on the head when it comes to the bountiful number of tech-related lawsuits involving patent litigation. It would seem that the US patent system has not kept pace with the very technologies it was designed to protect, and in turn numerous companies are taking advantage by patenting vague concepts and ideas. The ultimate result is the stifling of innovation, not the encouragement of it.

If the court sides with CLS with consideration to the brief submitted by Google and its cohorts, it would set a precedent for judges sitting on other patent-related trials. Don’t be surprised if we see a huge shakeup in the patent system should we continue down this road, though any meaningful changes likely won’t come for several years.

[via TechCrunch]


Kevin Krause
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  1. It’s about effing time…

  2. finally!

  3. Does this mean that Apple has to do some actual innovating now?

    1. Finally. If they were able to make the iPhone, then they can make something good. They need to because I’m tired of them wasting money. And if they make something that I want, Android would have to make something equally as good and I can have an even better Android experience. LoL!!

      1. said all of this in fewer words. Keyword: Innovation

      2. Is there an echo in here?

  4. Maybe Google and Facebook can put their social network competition aside when joining forces against Apple.

    1. Googlebook O_o

  5. *Crosses fingers and hopes that Apple loses rounded corner patent*

    1. really? Someone downvoted that. That’s really sad.

      1. There is a apple fan boy who goes through every phandroid article down voting every post, because they have no life. Best thing to do is just ignore it or up vote everyone to cancel it out.

  6. I agree with that statement 100 percent.

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