Monday, June 28, 2010

(Finally!) The Bilski Decision Arrives

The opinion is out - as expected, the SCOTUS held Bilski's application was not statutory subject matter:

Petitioners’ remaining claims are broad examples of how hedging can be used in commodities and energy markets. Flook established that limiting an abstract idea to one field of use or adding token post solution components did not make the concept patentable. That is exactly what the remaining claims in petitioners’ application do. These claims attempt to patent the use of the abstract idea of hedging risk in the energy market and then instruct the use of well-known random analysis techniques to help establish some of the inputs into the equation. Indeed, these claims add even less to the underlying abstract principle than the invention in Flook did, for the Flook invention was at least directed to the narrower domain of signaling dangers in operating a catalytic converter.
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Today, the Court once again declines to impose limitations on the Patent Act that are inconsistent with the Act’s text. The patent application here can be rejected under our precedents on the unpatentability of abstract ideas. The Court, therefore, need not define further what constitutes a patentable “process,” beyond pointing to the definition of that term provided in §100(b) and looking to the guideposts in Benson, Flook, and Diehr.

And nothing in today’s opinion should be read as endorsing interpretations of §101 that the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has used in the past. See, e.g., State Street, 149 F. 3d, at 1373; AT&T Corp., 172 F. 3d, at 1357. It may be that the Court of Appeals thought it needed to make the machine-or-transformation test exclusive precisely because its case law had not adequately identified less extreme means of restricting business method patents, including (but not limited to) application of our opinions in Benson, Flook, and Diehr. In disapproving an exclusive machine-or-transformation test, we by no means foreclose the Federal Circuit’s development of other limiting criteria that further the purposes of the Patent Act and are not inconsistent with its text.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals is affirmed.
More analysis to follow . . .

For a copy of the opinion, click here (link)

1 Comentário:

Gena777 said...

Bilski, the most-anticipated decision in the recent history of patent litigation, is maddeningly, if perhaps necessarily, short on specifics, definitions, or the means of determining patentability. The main difference is that, instead of stewing over machines and transformations, we'll all be trying to figure out what exactly is an abstract idea. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

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