Professor Colleen Chien (Santa Clara) has written an interesting new article on the importance of amicus briefs in patent cases.Her article is titled Patent Amicus Briefs: What the Courts’ Friends Can Teach Us About the Patent System and is available online at SSRN.As such, I believe that the source code of a Free Software implementation of some patented algorithm (as if it makes sense to patent an idea, but hey, some patent offices hand these things out) cannot infringe the patent even if you accept the validity of algorithmic patents because it’s just describing something that has already been published — the patent text itself!On the other hand, compiled forms of the same do implement the algorithm in a machine and might be covered.[...] The abstract: Over the last two decades, more than 1500 amici, representing thousands of organizations, companies, and individuals, have signed onto amicus briefs in over a hundred patent cases, many of them representing landmark decisions.
I guess there’s no patent yet on not helping at all.
The Open Invention Network’s Linux Defenders program posted the patents on its Post-Issue Peer to Patent page, and drew numerous useful contributions as well.
In fact, all of the prior art used as prime examples at trial (Apple Switcher, Commodore Amiga 1000, and Chan Room Model), were identified on both Groklaw and Linux Defenders.
Over the 20 years studied, every single amicus brief authored by the US Government in a Supreme Court patent case except one predicted the case outcome.
That is to say, in almost all cases, the Court affirmed or rejected the lower court holding when the Government told it to, and in one case, dismissed cert as improvidently granted when the Government recommended doing so.
The decision is related to German patent application DE10232674 filed by Siemens AG on July 18, 2002.