Software patents have come under intense scrutiny in a spate of recent news articles, blog posts, academic forums, and policy discussions as observers have drawn attention to issues ranging from opportunistic litigation to exceedingly broad patent coverage. Some of these are legitimate criticisms that highlight opportunities to improve the patent system. But in some cases, overzealous critics have gone too far in issuing blanket condemnations or calling for reforms that would abolish certain forms of patent protection entirely. This would have a far-reaching impact on incentives for the US software industry to innovate — and for customers that depend on their technology to compete in the marketplace.
To separate fact from fiction and identify constructive policy solutions, BSA | The Software Alliance and the National Association of Manufacturers held a briefing event in the US Capitol Visitor's Center, on February 21.
In a 90-minute panel discussion with Q&A, top executives from the software and manufacturing sectors highlighted the critical role that innovative software solutions have come to play in spurring technology advances and creating economic opportunity. The panel explored ways to improve the quality of patents and limit unnecessary litigation without undermining incentives for innovation. Panelists also highlighted the ways software drives efficiency, new product development, and job creation in the manufacturing sector.
This event took place as the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is set to consider software patentability questions in CLS Bank v Alice Corp, and the Patent and Trademark Office is in the midst of hearing public comment on potential improvements to the examination process for patent applications.
Featured Speakers and Panelists
- BSA President and CEO Robert Holleyman (host)
- Former Commissioner for Patents, USPTO, Robert Stoll (moderator)
- Microsoft General Counsel and Executive VP Brad Smith (panelist)
- Oracle SVP, General Counsel, and Secretary Dorian Daley (panelist)
- IBM Vice President and Assistant General Counsel Neil Abrams (panelist)
- Covia Labs CEO David Kahn (panelist)
- Procter & Gamble Director of Corporate R&D Modeling and Simulation Thomas J. Lange (panelist)
Introduction: Robert Holleyman 0:00
Framing Remarks: Former Patent Commissioner Robert Stoll 6:05
Opening Statement: Dorain Daley, Oracle 12:31
Opening Statement: Brad Smith, Microsoft 22:35
Opening Statement: Neil Abrams, IBM 32:53
Opening Statement: David Kahn, Covia Labs 39:55
Opening Statement: Thomas Lange, Procter & Gamble 46:32