Issue Date: June 8, 2009
Supreme Court Will Review Business Method Patents
The Supreme Court has agreed to determine whether business methods, such as processes and procedures, qualify for patent protection. The justices agreed to review an October ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that narrowed the class of patentable inventions to those "tied to a particular machine or apparatus" or transforming "a particular article into a different state or thing." The appeals court ruled that the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office was correct in refusing to allow Bernard L. Bilski and Rand Warsaw's company to patent a method for hedging weather-based risk in commodities trading because it was too abstract. "The Bilski decision has significant implications on the patentability of biotechnology and life science inventions" because it introduces uncertainty about what chemical and biological processes might still be patentable, says Roque El-Hayek, an associate at the law firm Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks.
- Chemical & Engineering News
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