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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

the Supreme Court's decision on BILSKI

On Monday, 28 June 2010, the United States Supreme Court decided a case regarding the patentability of business method patents.  The case can be found at Bilski et al. v Kappos, 08-964.

The Court affirmed the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuits rejection of a patent application regarding business method patents.

Claim 1 of the patent application recites,

"(a) initiating a series of transactions between said commodity provider and consumers of said commodity wherein said consumers purchase said commodity at a fixed rate based upon historical averages, said fixed rate corresponding to a risk position of said consumers;
(b) identifying market participants for said commodity having a counter-risk position to said consumers; and
(c) initiating a series of transactions between said commodity provider and said market participants at a second fixed rate such that said series of market participant transactions balances the risk position of said series of consumer transactions."

The Court reasoned:

     In light of these precedents, it is clear that petitioners’ application is not a patentable “process.” Claims 1 and 4 in petitioners’ application explain the basic concept of hedging, or protecting against risk: “Hedging is a fundamental economic practice long prevalent in our system of commerce and taught in any introductory finance class.”
     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.

Therefore, a business method that is known to the public, is probably not patentable, even if it is integrated with a computer program, or software.


Saturday, June 19, 2010


Where would the United States be today without the innovations of:

1. Thomas Edison
          Thomas Edison patented over 1000 inventions include the phonograph, the incandescent light bulb, and the motion picture;

2. Samuel F. B. Morse
          His inventions include the telegraph and morse code;

3. Alexander Graham Bell
          His inventions include the telephone in 1876;

4. Henry Ford
          The automotive industry drove the American economy since it inception;

5. George Eastman
          He invented the Kodak camera;

6. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs

Many important inventions were invented or best produced in the United States.  The reason is that the U.S. constitution created the structure of our government.  The limits of the government provide free enterprise to grow by the incentive and fun involved in creating and inventing, and reaping the benefits of one's creation, generally through the U.S. patent system and international patent laws.

Where would the U.S. be had the above inventions been invented or primarily developed in another country?