In Bilski v. Kappos, the Court unanimously affirmed the judgment of the Federal Circuit that the application for a patent on a business method should be rejected. The Court’s opinion, joined by only five of the Justices, however, needlessly left the door open for business method patents to issue in the future, and I am concerned that it will lead to more unnecessary litigation.
Since the debate over comprehensive patent reform began many years ago, the Supreme Court has demonstrated an increased interest in patent law cases. The Court’s decisions have moved in the direction of improving patent quality. While today’s decision will take time to analyze and may not have advanced the law and created the stability and certainty that it could have, it appears to continue this trend, which is consistent with the goal of patent reform legislation pending in Congress. The courts, however, are constrained by the text of our outdated statutes, and it is time for Congress to act.
Still, with summer recess approaching, it is unlikely that we will see much in the way of progress on S.515 until the fall.