SAP is a software and business consultancy company that lobbies for software patents and business method patents. They have been called "probably the biggest European computer company in favour of software patents".
machine-implemented inventions (e.g computer-implemented software and other computer-implemented inventions), by their very nature, meet the standard of being patent-eligible implementations [...]
Amicus encourages this Court to confirm the patentability of software that has a practical implementation, and to avoid unnecessarily broad terms which would jeopardize settled expectations for those who have patented software inventions that fall well inside Section 101 and which are key to the nation's economy and job growth.
Pages 25 and 26 of the brief PDF cite the US FTC report on innovation to explain that software is developed incrementally.
SAP's first argument is that patents are necessary to encourage investment in research:
Without patent protection, a new entrant could easily duplicate the unique innovations that SAP developed through considerable investment, circumvent copyright laws by making trivial alterations, undercut the investments and efforts of SAP and other companies by avoiding the high cost of research and development, and thus unfairly compete in the marketplace. To prevent such a scenario, companies like SAP have come to rely on the strong safeguards afforded by this country's patent system...
"[i]t is estimated that 85-90% of the world's technology is disclosed only in patent documents."
(Newman, J., concurring)
However, this is clearly not true for software. Aside from what percentage of restrictively-licensed software is document, there is a very large area of software called free software which is documented completely by the sharing of the original, human-written source code.
Litigation by and against
- Any big cases?
Related pages on ESP Wiki
- CAFC ruling that Sky can use its patent
- Why SAP is Such a Sap over Software Patents, 28 Aug 2009, by Glyn Moody
- SAP: Open Source's Friend or Foe?, 10 Jun 2009, Glyn Moody
- Versata saps $139m out of SAP, 27 Aug 2009, The Register
- "Why SAP is Such a Sap over Software Patents". http://www.computerworlduk.com/community/blogs/index.cfm?entryid=2469.
- http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+CRE+20050705+ITEM-006+DOC+XML+V0//EN&query=INTERV&detail=2-016 "That much is quite clear from some of the advertisements placed in European Voice and elsewhere by such companies as SAP and the like."