Patent Eligibility of Programming Languages and Tools
Tulane Journal of Technology & Intellectual Property, Vol. 13, pp. 133, 2010
Posted: 4 Sep 2012
Date Written: 2010
While patent eligibility is a frequently discussed topic for computer programs in general, it is less often addressed for the instruments that are used for creating those programs — programming languages and tools. However, the patent eligibility analysis for programming languages and tools is particularly important because it determines whether standards for creating computer programs can be made proprietary under the patent laws subjecting them to the exclusive control of the patent holders. Therefore, it is the goal of this Article to provide a basic analysis for patent eligibility of programming languages and their implementations in programming tools.
This Article presents an attempt to carefully refine the law of patent eligibility by applying the existing statutory framework and judicial precedents to the field of programming languages and tools. The analysis will be structured into five Parts. It will begin with a brief inquiry into the relationship between patent and copyright eligibility (Part I). Then the law of patent eligibility is surveyed (Part II) and applied to programming languages and tools (Part III). This application of the law is followed by an analysis of a possible First Amendment limitation (Part IV) and complemented by a final summary of the results (Part V).
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