UIC Review of Intellectual Property Law


Software patents are a sore subject for many programmers. Although still in their infancy, they have managed to anger many of those in the programming community. Software patents started to evolve in the early 80’s through multiple court decisions that eventually defined software as statutory patentable material. Although patentable, software has proven to be a formidable match for the examination process. The examination process has proven ineffective in properly examining software patent applications and as result multiple lawsuits based on frivolous patents have emerged. Potential battles such as the one between Creative and Apple over Creative’s patent for a hierarchal file system have become examples for which opponents of software patents can rely. This comment proposes the creation of a third party entity that would be made up of the programming community that would police software patent applications prior to issuance. This entity would alleviate the strain on the USPTO as well as examiners while rebuilding the reputation of software patents and the USPTO.