In the not-so-slow death spiral of software patents in light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Alice v CLS Bank, another trial court has determined that a patent for software should not have been issued because the software addressed by the patent is not the kind of invention eligible for patenting. In the case of Amdocs v Openet Telecom, the Federal district court considered whether inventions directed to software for reporting usage of network devices on a computer network could be patentable. The court applied the two-part test of Alice v CLSBank: first, does the challenged patent claim address an abstract idea; second, does the claim include ‘something more’ to transform the abstract idea into something that is patent-eligible. The court’s answer to the first question was ‘yes’ and to the second question was ‘no,’ rendering the patents unenforceable.The claims in question addressed a purely software product that does nothing outside of a computer. What the software product does inside the computer did not seem to be of much interest to the court. If the Amdocs decision becomes the norm, then patents for software will be only a dusty footnote, like the passenger pigeon.
– Robert Yarbrough, Esq.