Patentability of business methods and software
The FFII (together with IP Justice) submitted an Amicus Curiae Brief (download the PDF here) to the U.S. Supreme Court in the Case Bilski v. Kappos. What you find here is a brief Introduction to the case and links to some more in-depth information. To support efforts, please consider donating and/or becoming a member.
Here's a picture of our Brief (well, one of the 40 copies we had to deliver) shortly before being submitted:
You can read more about our team that filed the brief here.
A quick Introduction to Bilski v. Kappos
In 1997, Bernhard Bilski and applied for a patent on a method of hedging risks in commodities trading. The process claimed by Bilski is one of initialising a series of sales transactions between brokers and sellers based on a (fixed) historical price rate, identifying sellers and initialising a series of sales between brokers and sellers in order to balance out the risks of sellers and buyers.
The patent was rejected by the US Patent and Trademark Office as well as the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. In May 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court, until now quite critical of patenting abstract ideas, decided to hear the case.
As the Court of Appeals put it, the State Street decision (which introduced broad patentability, based on an artificial between "mathematical" and (non-mathematical?) algorithms, can not be fully trusted anymore. Therefore, the upcoming verdict by the the Supreme Court has to be considered a landmark decision on the limits of patentability.