Software Patent Supreme Court Case Begins

Alice Corporation v. CLS Bank, the landmark case over the legality of software patents, has reached the U.S. Supreme Court. The journey to get there has been long and drawn out, but now that it’s being discussed by SCOTUS, what are the chances that their eventual decision will be broad, decisive and clear? Simon’s been looking over the transcript of Monday’s hearing in an attempt to assess the direction the questioning seems to be taking.

Highlighting “a good deal of apparent scepticism” on the part of the Justices, Simon picks out a number of quotes in which the Justices state and restate the problem, seemingly unsatisfied by the response each time. One Justice Scalia statement helps us understand the core of the problem under discussion: “If you just say ‘use a computer,’ you haven’t invented anything.” Despite this scepticism, Chief Justice Roberts expressed doubts that their  ruling will “bring about greater clarity and certainty,” and this wasn’t the only sign that the court might be reluctant to provide the strong clarification the Solicitor General asked for and that the technology economy needs.

Read Simon’s full analysis of the hearing on InfoWorld.



Microsoft – Reading the Signs

Perhaps it’s too soon to be jumping to conclusions, but is it possible that Microsoft’s promotion of Satya Nadella into the CEO spot is a sign of willingness to change? Holding out for a future in which Microsoft embraces open source, Simon explains in InfoWorld this week why despite the ‘true to character’ release of MS-DOS code under particularly unhelpful licensing terms, the first few weeks of Nadella’s leadership still leave him with a of tinge of hope.

The two incidents he examines are the release of Office for iPad and Microsoft’s moves towards higher ethical standards regarding the privacy of their customers. Whilst there is much caution and qualification, Simon’s reading of the signs seems to be that Nadella is the man to open doors for Open Source at Microsoft. Read his full article on InfoWorld here.