Title

The Story of Diamond v. Diehr Toward Patenting Software

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date

2006

Editor(s)

Jane C. Ginsburg & Rochelle Cooper Dreyfuss

ISBN

9781587787270

Language

en-US

Abstract

In balancing the costs and benefits of granting exclusive rights, intellectual property systems and those who create them inevitably face the question of how to define the subject matter eligible for protection. Patent law, which grants broad exclusive rights to inventors, has historically not considered basic truths patentable subject matter. Granting one person exclusive rights in fundamental truths imposes large costs on society by imposing a “tax” on all (likely many) who seek to use that truth. On the other hand, granting exclusive rights in an application of a basic truth in a particular context likely costs much less, and may even be necessary to induce innovation. But how do a general purpose statute and the administrative agency and courts interpreting it strike the appropriate balance?

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