Jenner & Block

“The Software Innovation and Protection Dilemma—Guidance Please! Copyrights and Patents,” 2016 American Intellectual Property Law Annual Meeting

Jenner & Block Partner Matthew S. Hellman participated in a panel discussion on copyrights and patents at the American Intellectual Property Law Annual Meeting on October 28, 2016.  Mr. Hellman’s panel focused on the limits of copyright protection for software.  He and the other panelists debated the effect of two recent court decisions, Alice Corp. Pty Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int'l and Oracle Am. Inc. v. Google Inc., on patent and copyright protections and whether this will shift the importance of IP protection of software from patents to copyrights.  In presenting his paper, “What Does the Oracle Tell Us About the Future of Fair Use?,” Mr. Hellman argued that the eligibility threshold was easier to cross in copyright, but noted that copyright’s fair-use defense was becoming a common way to escape liability in infringement claims now that courts are thinking of fair-use more broadly.  In addition to the Oracle case, Mr. Hellman cited Authors Guild v. Google Inc., where the court deemed Google’s digitization of written material in the Google Books database a “transformative use” and therefore allowable under the fair-use doctrine, as a recent example of the fair-use defense being used to escape liability.  Tony Dutra at Bloomberg BNA reported from the annual meeting and quoted Mr. Hellman in an article on the panel discussion. The full article can be found here (subscription required).   Associate R. Trent McCotter was the co-author of Mr. Hellman’s paper. 

Mr. Hellman is a litigator who has been lead counsel in dozens of appellate matters, and has presented arguments in the US Supreme Court, the US Courts of Appeals, and in state appellate courts.  In addition, he routinely presents arguments in the trial courts.  His cases involve a variety of issues such as intellectual property, commercial law and civil liberties.