The US Supreme Court's Decision on Bilski v. Kappos

 
On June 28, 2010, the US Supreme Court rendered the long-awaited decision in Bilski v. Kappos. In its decision, the Court affirmed the ruling of the Federal Circuit that Bilski's claims for a method of hedging risk in commodities trading were unpatentable but rejected the Federal Circuit's holding that the "machine-or-transformation" test is the solo test for determining whether a process is eligible patentable subject matter. The Court further holds that business methods are not excluded from patentable subject matter under the Patent Act. Although the Court disagreed with the Federal Circuit's decision regarding sole use of the "machine-or-transformation" test, it allows the Federal Circuit to develop other limiting criteria for determining whether a process is eligible patentable subject matter. It seems that the Court's decision does not provide lower courts much guidance in determining eligible patentable subject matter. However, it is clear that opportunities remain to patent and enforce business methods.