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Bilski overview

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"Bilski" is a series of court cases in the USA, culminating in a Supreme Court ruling which had limited impact on the patentability of software. The Bilski patent itself is a business method patent, not a software patent, but it was hoped that the court would give a ruling broad enough to affect the patentability of software. The final outcome was disappointingly narrow.

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[edit] Origins

The USPTO rejected Bilski's patent. Bilski appealed to the USPTO's Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences, but was rejected again. Bilski took the USPTO to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), again demanding that his patent be granted. Again rejected (in re Bilski, 2008). So Bilski asked the US Supreme Court to review the CAFC's decision. They agreed to hear the case (Bilski v. Kappos, 2010) but also rejected the patent.

[edit] Why is it important?

The 2008 ruling of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) was broad enough to reject Bilski's patent and a certain category of software patents.

The Supreme Court agreed to review the CAFC's ruling (as Bilski v. Kappos), and the judges raised the issue of software during the hearing.

The Supreme Court's ruling could greatly change the patentability of software patents, business method patents, and the middle ground of e-commerce patents.

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