Software patent conference outlines problems, possible solutions



The first panel concluded with Robert Barr, executive director of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology. Most law groups software and hardware together, using legislation for the semiconductor industry to regulate the software industry, Barr said. This use fails when many hardware manufacturers also develop software, such as Cisco Systems implementing its own operating systems on its network equipment (Barr was previously the vice president for intellectual property and worldwide patent counsel to Cisco Systems). Barr then cited hopeful patent reform that is in discussion, which uses damage apportionment and willful infringement. However, he is skeptical as to whether the agenda will work.