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Business method patents still OK in U.S.

This is a short case note on the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Bilksi et al v Kappos [Wikipedia link].

The applicant was unsuccessful in seeking to patent a business method. It was a method to calculate the risk of price changes in the energy sector caused by seasonal changes in the weather, to be used in the creation of fixed bill energy contracts for consumers.

This particular method or process patent application failed to be eligible as a patent because it was found to be a mere concept, an abstract idea, that basically boiled down to a mathematical formula, to be applied to the energy industry.

However, the decision of the court does not mean that business methods are not patentable under U.S. patent law.

The court held that the U.S. legal tests generally applied to determining whether a process is eligible for a patent (ie is the process applied to a particular machine/apparatus or does the process transform a particular thing into a different state or thing?) are not to be taken as limiting the possibility that a process can be eligible for a patent.


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