Federal Circuit Will Decide Business Methods Case

The Federal Circuit will decide en banc a case regarding business methods patents which has the potential to change the parameters for such patents. In 1998, the Federal Circuit issued its landmark State Street decision, which held that such patents were valid as long as the process yielded “a useful, concrete, and tangible result.” The State Street decision resulted in an explosion of business-method patent applications, which are often typified by processes that have no tangible physical form or innovative physical steps. The case now before the court appears to be a review of the State Street decision, and may result in a clearer answer regarding whether and what type of physical change or activity is needed to establish patentability. However, there is also a fear that such patents will be curtailed. In re Bilski and Warsaw, 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 3246 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 15, 2008).