Entrepreneurs 1 – Patent Trolls 0
Well it looks like we got a win yesterday when the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that software and business method patents must meet a two pronged test that should serve to render many of these patents useless. I am not a patent lawyer and there is a debate in the comments to this Techdirt post that suggest there’s still a lot of debate about how big of a deal this ruling really is. I’ve emailed my favorite patent lawyer to get his opinion.
We can use all the help we can get. Our portfolio companies have been spending hundreds of thousands of dollars per case in recent years fighting off patent trolls who acquire software and business method patents and then sue for infringement. It’s a huge tax on the startup/technology ecosystem and it’s hurting innovation. The whole thing has soured me completely on the patent system. I think there shouldn’t be any software and business method patents at all, but I think that’s not likely to happen anytime soon.
Hopefully the courts and the patent office are beginning to see the problem with software and busienss method patents and rulings like we got yesterday are a hopeful sign.