Oral Arguments in Bilski Case


On Monday, November 9, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the Bilski case, which is an appeal dealing with the the question of patentability of business method patents. A friend of mine that is a patent attorney in New York sent me the transcript. In reading the transcript, it appears to me that Attorney Jakes, arguing for the petitioner, Bilski, did a better job of presenting his case. His reasoning was simple, and clearly explained: Any process that is new and non-obvious, and occurs in the physical world, should be patentable. Attorney Stewart, arguing for the government's position, did not make as clear a presentation, and his explanations were somewhat convoluted, I thought.

But that may be unfair to attorney Stewart. Jakes's argument was basically, there are no limits to the subject matter of what is patentable as a process, except that the process may not exist solely in a person's mind. That is an attractively simple rule, but possibly way beyond the scope of what Congress intended in the Patent Act. Stewart had the harder argument to make: If not every new and non-obvious process is patentable, where do you draw the line? Jakes was arguing, in effect, there is no line. That's easy. Line drawing is much harder. 

What do you think? 

Bilski 08-964.pdf318.18 KB