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Software patent quality worse than all other fields

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Quality problems can happen in any category of patents, but the quality of software patents is particularly bad. This is probably a fundamental problem that can't be avoided in a domain as abstract as software.

The main cause is probably that software is too abstract, making and applying examination rules is just too difficult.

Contents

[edit] Evidenced in Allison's 2010 study

(See also: Patent Quality and Settlement Among Repeat Patent Litigants)

Page 28 (pdf page 29):

If we consider just patent owner wins and defendant wins on the merits, non‐software patent win 37.1% of their cases across both the most‐litigated and once‐litigated data sets, owners while software patentees win only 12.9%. If we include default judgments, non‐software patent owners win 51.1% of their cases, while software patentees win only 12.9%. Each of these results is highly statistically significant. (...) Once settlements are included, non‐software patent companies win judgments in 4.0% of their suits, while software patentees win judgments in only 1.4% of their suits. Adding default judgments changes these numbers to 7.2% for non‐software patent owners and 1.4% for software patentees.

[edit] Possible reasons

  1. Abstract algorithms can be described in so many ways.
  2. Jargon and lack of tangible components can make a mundane software idea sound technical.
  3. It's impossible for a patent examiner to judge obviousness. Software developers use so many ideas during their work, only a tiny percent ever get submitted to the patent office or otherwise published.

[edit] Examples

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