Rethinking Software Patents

Tags: Content/IP / Technology Policy

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The discussion was timely, as the role of patents in general and software patents in particular have become increasingly controversial. In the face of skyrocketing costs of patent litigation and the increasing use of patent lawsuits as a strategic tool to extract royalties (as opposed to protect existing products), both Congress and the Supreme Court are eyeing avenues for possible reform. Notably, even patent examiners describe the current situation as problematic, with few commentators defending either the speed or effectiveness of the Patent’s Office ability to sort the wheat from the chaff. Indeed, patent examiners themselves have explained that, with significant patent reforms, they will be increasingly unable to “provide the quality of examination the peoples of the world deserve” and that “[a]n increase in patent applications does not necessarily represent an increase in technological progress[.]” Against this backdrop, Silicon Flatirons brought together a select group of attorneys, engineers, venture capitalists, and professors to identify areas of consensus as well as those requiring further exploration.


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