Director of the USPTO to speak on the invention of software patents

Dave Kappos, director of the USPTO, whom I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog, will be speaking on the invention of software patents.

Director Kappos will address the topic of high-tech innovation and the role of software patents in that innovation. He’ll examine how software came to be patented; how those patents are featured across the innovation landscape; and how the USPTO in the last three years has taken concrete steps to ensure the highest level of quality in issued patents while providing avenues for re-examination of existing patents.

I thought this was worth posting for two reasons:

  • If you’re in DC, well, you should go. I expect it will be fun and/or hilarious.
  • This little phrase: “how software came to be patented”. That is, the director of the USPTO believes that there was a time when software was not patentable, but it now is. Given that the Supreme Court has done little but invalidate patents and tighten the range of what is patentable, and Congress hasn’t done anything on the subject since the 1950s, how did this shift occur?

I want this to be a brief post, so I’ll leave that question as an exercise for the bureauphile. Next time, some more mechanism design.

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