Software Patents And Business Method Patents Still Possible After Bilski Supreme Court Decision
Previously, the Federal Circuit reviewed a decision of the Board of Patent Appeals in which the Board had sustained a rejection of all eleven of Bilski’s claims under 35 U.S.C. 101 as not directed to patent-eligible subject matter. The Federal Circuit affirmed, holding that Bilski’s claims were not statutory under 35 U.S.C. 101.
Bilski’s patent application claimed a method of hedging risk in commodities trading.
The Supreme Court on June 28, 2010 affirmed the invalidity of Bilski’s claims. The Supreme Court declined to generally invalidate software patents and instead held that the Federal Circuit’s Machine-or-Transformation test is not the exclusive test to determining if a method is statutory.
The Supreme Court noted that Section 101 specifies four independent categories of inventions or discoveries that are patent eligible: “process[es],” “machine[es],” “manufactur[es],” and “composition[s] of matter.” The Supreme Court noted that they had stated in their earlier decision of Diamond v. Chakrabarty, 447 U.S. 303 that in choosing such expansive terms, Congress plainly contemplated that the patent laws would be given wide scope in order to ensure that ingenuity should receive a liberal encouragement. The Court’s precedents provide three …