The Uncertain Future of Business Method Patents

31 October 2008

This is an unscheduled News Update post.

Yesterday, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the denial of a patent for a business method of risk management relating to changes in energy costs.   The court ruled that in order to qualify as patent-able subject matter, a process must meet both parts of a two-part test (displacing the State Street "useful, concrete, tangible" test):

  1. "tied to a particular machine or apparatus"
  2. "transforms a particular article into a different state or thing"

There's plenty of coverage on the blogosphere:

Some US opinions seem very excited and optimistic for the downfall of business method patents: Techdirt and TechCrunch.

One British point of view seems a bit calmer; no point in getting excited until the case gets to the Supreme Court: The Guardian.

PatentBaristas gets down and dirty with the nitty gritty, including some court vs. legislature banter.

A rather in-depth look at the court's opinion is available at Patently-O.

And, if you're really interested, you can check out the whole opinion.


It will be interesting to see how the case affected the patent auction in Chicago yesterda, as well.  From the looks of IP Finance's report, the case shouldn't cause too much of a tidal wave in the area of IP trading.


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