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MORE ON BILSKI AND BUSINESS METHOD PATENTS

by | Jun 3, 2009 | Patent | 0 comments

As noted below, On October 30, 2009, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rejected a business-method patent on the basis of the machine-or-transformation test (opinion). The widely varying dissents of the en banc decision suggest much contradiction among the respective justices, from comments indicating that either the majority goes too far or not far enough in restricting the use of these patents. Meritorious arguments submitted by amicus also advocate a multitude of policy considerations. On June 1st, the Supreme Court grantedcertiorari to review the decision, perhaps in response to the extent of the important implications that this case entails.

Those seeking to expand business-method patents cite economics as a “useful art” and explain that these patents encourage innovation and produce tangible results. Conversely, opponents indicate that the patents curtail the free-flow of information and claim abstract ideas, both contrary to the goals of patent protection. Certainly, the Court will seek to balance the interests of both inventors and the public, which benefits from the increased societal knowledge that patents provide. But, as of now, the Court of Appeals’ decision seemingly puts the property rights of many business-method patent-holders in jeopardy with both the legal and business worlds taking note and this being heralded by some as “The most important patent case in 50 years” (link). 

Sebastian Ohanian Contributed to this Entry.