Philip Brooks’ Patent Infringement Updates recently posted some useful statistics about the USPTO’s issuance of software patents, along with how frequently courts have declared software patents invalid over the last few years. Interesting nuggets from the stats include:
The USPTO granted 752 software patents in 2006 — far more than in any other year. However, in 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court began to question whether the USPTO was going to too far when granting software patents, as shown by Justice Breyer’s dissenting opinion in LabCorp v. Metabolite, Inc. and Justice Kennedy’s concurring opinion in eBay, Inc. v. MercExchange, L.L.C.
After all of this, the USPTO also began to more aggressively reject claims directed to software, and the number of software patents granted dipped to 707 in 2007. The number held steady at 707 in 2008.