Business Method Patents Under Review

The US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has decided to review a number of issues that go to the heart of business-method patents in the In re Bilski case. Essentially Bilski has claimed a method for managing risk.  The claim is not tied to any software or “machine”; it is merely a mental process of how to conduct business.  The court will review:

(1) Whether the business method claim in Bilski’s patent application is “patent-eligible subject matter”?

(2) What standards should be used to determining whether a process or method is eligible for patent protection?

(3) Whether the claimed method is not patent-eligible because it is an abstract idea or mental process; when does a claim that contains both mental and physical steps create patent-eligible subject matter?

(4) Whether a method or process must result in a physical transformation of an article or be tied to a machine to be patent-eligible subject matter under US patent law? and

(5) Whether it is appropriate to reconsider or overrule the leading business-method-patent decision in State Street Bank & Trust Co. v. Signature Financial Group, Inc., (Fed. Cir. 1998)?

The State Street Bank case has been held up for the last 10 years as authority for the patentability of software and business methods.  For those watching the business-method-patent and software-patent debate, this is the front line and will impact patent holders in both the US and Canada. 

For related reading, see: US Patent Reform


Calgary – 10:50 MST

1 comment

1 Comment so far

  1. […] a successful challenge to the vailidity of the plaintiff’s patent will deep-six the patent infringement claim; developments in US law are bringing clarity to the patentability of software and business-methods and the grounds for challenging such patents (See: Business Method Patents Under Review); […]

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.