Are Business Methods Patentable? The Supreme Court Weighs In.

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Venture and IT professionals are familiar with Bilski v. Kappos, in which the Patent & Trademark Office denied a business-method patent for a method of hedging risk through commodities trading. A patent application was filed in 1997 by Bernard Bilski and Rand Warsaw, which was rejected by the US Patent & Trademark Office on the basis that it involved only an idea or concept and did not need any technology to implement. The patent was rejected through a series of appeals culminating in a hearing before the Supreme Court in November last year 2009.

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the Bilski case overthrew a test called: the “useful, concrete and tangible result” test that it had articulated in the 1998 case of State Street Bank & Trust Co. v. Signature Financial group, Inc.

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