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US Patent & Trademark Office spoiling for a patent fight

The US PTO has a growing disdain for software patents.

John F. Duffy, a professor of Law at The George Washington University Law School, recently wrote that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has increasingly taken stands on patents that "will invalidate many and perhaps most software patents." If only.

Duffy worries that "the PTO's new interpretation of patentable subject matter provides a clear avenue to reject patent applications and to invalid issued patents on all such innovations without regard to how meritorious or creative the innovation is," but he both overstates his case and understates just how important it would be for the US PTO to actually carry through on this threat.

Patents have proved to be weak spurs to cash (and, hence, invention) in software. Regardless, given the fast pace of software technology, patents are effectively of an infinite duration: Even if they worked, they work for far too long.

I congratulate the US PTO on its newfound strength against the deleterious effects of patents on the software industry. last.