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Lets say that someone creates an mobile app (Android/IOS) that is identical in function to a TI-85 calculator... in fact it is a perfect representation of it and identical in function and appearance of the interface (an "emulation") -- the only difference being that the user is interacting with a flat touch screen instead of physical buttons... and that the logical computations are being made at the software-level rather than in pure hardware.

Would this app be said to infringe on the Texas Instruments device?

I'm assuming the answer is "yes, of course." ...

But, lets say someone invents a new app that also looks and feels like a device from the 80s, but this "device" never existed in the 80s... and would certainly have been patentable then (and still would be now as a stand-alone discrete hardware device).

I'm reading a lot of advice that basically says software patents are pointless and a waste of time, but, considering the hypothetical app in the previous paragraph... Why should it be considered ridiculous to patent this invention on modern devices simply because the implementation is "software?"

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Lets say that someone creates an mobile app (Android/IOS) that is identical in function to a TI-85 calculator... in fact it is a perfect representation of it and identical in function and appearance of the interface (an "emulation") -- the only difference being that the user is interacting with a flat touch screen instead of physical buttons... and that the logical computations are being made at the software-level rather than in pure hardware.

if you create a prefect representation of a device in a new touch interface (emulator) then the board would generally consider it as an alternate design for an existing device and patent would be rejected as obvious, as far as infringement is considered there are other factors comes into play if the emulator uses same algorithm that has been patented by TI 85 then you would be liable to infringement but if TI 85 has claimed only a device then you would be out of scope, infringement differs from case to case depending on the claims granted.

But, lets say someone invents a new app that also looks and feels like a device from the 80s, but this "device" never existed in the 80s... and would certainly have been patentable then (and still would be now as a stand-alone discrete hardware device).

If the hypothetical device if never exited to date then it is novel and a patent could be granted based on its function or capability and alternatives that exists before the filing date. Now coming to the part about an app that looks like a device has to be generated through a software and any person knowing basics of graphics can design it , board has rejected many applications for software/Apps being just an abstract idea. The patenability of the app depends on what the app is doing and algorithm being used.

If you have any such APP please consult an attorney in what way you could protect the app.

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In addition to RishiM_IPR's excellent answer, I'd like to point out that any device from the 1980s would have had it's patents expire by now. Patents from that era expired 17 years from the issue date. Once a patent expires, anyone can use the invention claimed without fear of infringement. This is the point of patents. In exchange for a limited period of exclusivity, you then allow anyone to use the invention without license. Thus you can't infringe on patents from the 1980s. Copyright is a different issue altogether and off topic for this site.

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