U.S. Supreme Court Grants Review in Bilski v. Doll

The U.S. Supreme Court has granted certiorari in the Bilski case, a challenge to the decision handed down by the Federal Circuit last October excluding pure business methods from patent protection. Additionally, the Bilski decision set some roadblocks in the way for obtaining software patents. In its decision, the Federal Circuit held that in order to be patent eligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101, a claimed process must either: (1) be tied to a particular machine or apparatus, or (2) transform a particular article into a different state or thing. The Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences at the U.S. Patent Office has handed down a few decisions in the wake of Bilski, however potential patentees are still left with a great deal of uncertainty in the future of business method and software patents. The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in this case will be an important and significant decision affecting patentable subject matter under § 101.