November 16-17, 2006
at MIT and Boston University
Berkeley Center for Law and Technology
Boston University Law School
Computer & Communications Industry Association
MIT Sloan School of Management
Public Patent Foundation
Research on Innovation
Over the years, nearly all limits to patentable subject matter in the U.S. have been removed by the specialized patent court without input from Congress, empirical evidence to justify its decisions, or consideration of values and principles outside of the patent system. Problems related to software patents have sparked calls for patent reform here in the U.S. and have driven efforts to reject legislation authorizing US-style software patents in Europe.
The persistent, and now resurgent, controversy over software patents calls for a reexamination of the issues in light of experience and new research. What has been learned about the impact on software development, innovation, and competition? How has this changed as software patents have become increasingly common and used in unanticipated ways? And what should now be done to change software patent policy here in the U.S.?