As the aftershock of State Street [FOOTNOTE 1]subsides, the avalanche of new software patent issuances and litigation begins. Many in the computer industry have responded in force to the challenges and threats posed by this monumental change in patent law. Software patents provide strategic value to companies, but the procurement and assertion of these powerful assets can be fraught with risks.

Unlike most technology, software was denied patent protection in the early years of its development. Even now, less than two decades since the advent of personal computers, software patents constitute a rapidly growing but still small portion of newly issued patents, compared to more established technological arts.

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