The U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Business Method Patents

In a long-anticipated decision, the United States Supreme Court addressed the issue of patentable subject matter relating to business methods. In Bilski v. Kappos, No. 08-964, June 28, 2010, the Court addressed the patentability of a procedure for instructing buyers and sellers how to protect against the risk of price fluctuations in a discrete section of the economy. While the Court ruled that the particular invention at issue was not patentable because it represented an abstract idea, it also declined to uphold a narrow "machine-or-transformation" litmus test for patentability advocated by the Federal Circuit. Similarly, the Court declined to rule that business methods are per se unpatentable.

The decision may be seen as at least a temporary victory for those seeking business method patents to the extent the business method does not merely limit an abstract idea to one field of use or add token post-solution components to an abstract idea.

Here is a link to the full opinion: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-964.pdf