The US Supreme Court has granted cert on In re Bilski (now styled Bilski v. Doll). The case is now pending before the Nine Wise Ones. Here are the court filings (from the point of view of the USPTO).
Bilski, as you recall, requires that business method patents have some sort of “transformative” characteristic — that is, the invention must somehow transform data or information input into something surprisingly different coming out.
The questions presented to the Court are:
1. “Whether the Federal Circuit erred by holding that a “process” must be tied to a particular machine or apparatus, or transform a particular article into a different state or thing (“machine-or-transformation” test), to be eligible for patenting under 35 U.S.C. § 101, despite this Court’s precedent declining to limit the broad statutory grant of patent eligibility for “any” new and useful process beyond excluding patents for “laws of nature, physical phenomena, and abstract ideas.”
2. “Whether the Federal Circuit’s “machine-or-transformation” test for patent eligibility, which effectively forecloses meaningful patent protection to many business methods, contradicts the clear Congressional intent that patents protect “method[s] of doing or conducting business.” 35 U.S.C. § 273.
I hope Bilski gets overturned; I don’t like its holding. I REALLY hope Bilski gets overturned.