Computer Software: Patentable Subject Matter Jurisprudence Comes of Age


Indira Saladi


VOL. XVIII • Fall 1999 • NO. 1 (table of contents)

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The Federal Circuit's ruling in State Street Bank Trust Co. v. Signature Financial Group, Inc. represented a paradigm shift in subject matter jurisprudence. Historically, software has been unpatentable because it included a mathematical algorithm, could not pass the physicality test, and was subject to the business methods exception. The State Street ruling expanded the scope of patentable subject matters by focusing on other aspects of patentability such as novelty, nonobviousness, and utility. State Street refreshingly modernizes patent law for improved application to today's evolving high technology industries.

In "Computer Software: Patentable Subject Matter Jurisprudence Comes of Age," the author examines the historical backgrounds of United States patent law with special emphasis on software unpatentability exceptions. She explores several important cases and statutes that have contributed to modern patent law jurisprudence. Finally, the author analyzes the State Street decision and explains why the holding will have a positive affect on software developers and programmers, and Internet companies.

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