1:50 pm to 2:50 pm
SESSION CHAIR:  Richard N. Taylor
The Patentability of Software Revisited
Richard M. Sherman Distinguished Professor of Law and Professor, School of Information
Co-Director, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology
Keynote Abstract

The patentability of computer program implemented inventions has been controversial for almost 50 years. In the 1960s the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) began denying patents on the ground that program innovations were not the kinds of processes for which patent protection is or should be available. In the 1970s two Supreme Court cases ruled against the patentability of two computational methods, which called into question whether program innovations would ever be patentable. Over the course of the 1980s and 1990s the appellate court that reviews patent eligibility standards became increasingly liberal in its interpretation of patentable subject matter. But in the 2000s, the Supreme Court has taken a much more conservative view of what kinds of innovations can be patented. In March 2014, the Court will hear oral argument in the Alice v. CLS Bank case, which denied patent claims for a computer-implemented invention. This talk will explain why I think the Court will narrow the scope of patent protection available for program-implemented inventions and what impacts this narrowing will have on the software industry.

About the Keynote

Pamela Samuelson is the Richard M. Sherman Distinguished Professor of Law and Information at the University of California, Berkeley. She is recognized as a pioneer in digital copyright law, intellectual property, cyberlaw and information policy. Since 1996, she has held a joint appointment at Berkeley Law School and UC Berkeley's School of Information. Samuelson is a director of the internationally-renowned Berkeley Center for Law & Technology. She serves on the board of directors of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Electronic Privacy Information Center, as well as on the advisory boards for the Center for Democracy & Technology, Public Knowledge, and the Berkeley Center for New Media.

Samuelson began her legal career as an associate with Willkie Farr & Gallagher in New York. She began her career as a legal academic at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, from which she visited at Columbia, Cornell, and Emory Law Schools. While on the Berkeley faculty, she has been a distinguished visiting professor at University of Toronto Law School as well as a visiting professor at the University of Melbourne and Harvard Law Schools. She was named an honorary professor at the University of Amsterdam in 2002.

Samuelson has written and published extensively in the areas of copyright, software protection and cyberlaw. Since 1990, Samuelson has been a contributing editor of Communications of the ACM, a computing professionals journal respected for its coverage of existing and emerging technologies, for which she has written more than sixty "Legally Speaking" columns. From 1997 through 2002, Samuelson was a fellow of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. She is also a Fellow of the Association of Computing Machinery. The Anita Borg Institute honored Samuelson with its Women of Vision Award for Social Impact in 2005, and the public interest organization Public Knowledge awarded her its IP3 Award for her contributions to Internet law and policy in October 2010.

Slides: UCI-ISRForum2014-Samuelson.pdf