Still no Bilski

The folk from SCOTUS blog were blogging live from the US Supreme Court this morning. The court published decisions for four cases today, but not Bilski. The next date for publishing decisions is May 24th. (see When to expect Bilski)

While waiting for Bilski, I’ve been working on a number of articles about other US court cases. Help welcome:

en.swpat.org is a publicly editable wiki and help is always welcome.

3 thoughts on “Still no Bilski

  1. les

    When you discuss GOTTSCHALK v. BENSON please do not overlook this bit:

    “It is argued that a process patent must either be tied to a particular machine or apparatus or must operate to change articles or materials to a “different state or thing.” We do not hold that no process patent could ever qualify if it did not meet the requirements of our prior precedents. It is said that the decision precludes a patent for any program servicing a computer. ————We do not so hold. ————–It is said that we have before us a program for a digital computer but extend our holding to programs for analog computers. We have, however, made clear from the start that we deal with a program only for digital computers. It is said we freeze process patents to old technologies, leaving no room for the revelations of the new, onrushing technology. ————-Such is not our purpose—————–.”

    1. Ciaran Post author

      I’ve added it to the wiki page.

      So, what do you think Benson tells us about patents on ways of writing XML documents?

      There’s no particular machine, no transformation, and they seem to meet the Benson rejection criterion that they “ha[ve] no substantial practical application except in connection with a digital computer”

  2. 6

    Indeed Lester Jester we wouldn’t want them to miss any of Gottschalk v Benson.

    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=409&invol=63

    So let’s go ahead and put your snippets into context.

    It is argued that a process patent must either be tied to a particular machine or apparatus or must operate to change articles or materials to a “different state or thing.” We do not hold that no process patent could ever qualify if it did not meet the requirements of our prior precedents. It is said that the decision precludes a patent for any program servicing a computer. We do not so hold. It is said that we have before us a program for a digital computer but extend our holding to programs for analog computers. We have, however, made clear from the start that we deal with a program only for digital computers. It is said we freeze process patents to old technologies, leaving no room for the revelations of the new, onrushing technology. Such is not our purpose. What we come down to in a nutshell is the following.

    It is conceded that one may not patent an idea. But in practical effect that would be the result if the formula for converting BCD numerals to pure binary numerals were patented in this case. The mathematical formula involved here has no substantial practical application except in connection with a digital computer, which [409 U.S. 63, 72] means that if the judgment below is affirmed, the patent would wholly pre-empt the mathematical formula and in practical effect would be a patent on the algorithm itself.

    It may be that the patent laws should be extended to cover these programs, a policy matter to which we are not competent to speak. The President’s Commission on the Patent System 4 rejected the proposal that these programs be patentable.

    Fact of the matter was that Gottschalk v Benson simply wasn’t addressing the right kind of program to require them to so hold. The day will come when such a program is before them, if Bilski doesn’t seal their fate outright.

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