From today’s Wall Street Journal — Court to Re-Examine Method Patents:
A federal appeals court in Washington has decided to reconsider the boundaries for so-called “business-method patents,” a controversial type of intellectual-property protection given to methods and processes used by insurance companies, banks and securities-traders, among others.
The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which hears appeals from lower courts and decisions of the Patent & Trademark Office, said Friday that it has decided on its own to hear the case en banc, or by all 12 of the court’s judges. In its order, issued Friday, the court stated it would re-examine a landmark 1998 case, State Street Bank v. Signature Financial Group, which largely paved the way for the creation of business-method patents.
This could dramatically alter the landscape. For a more detailed discussion, see the Patent Law Blog (Patently-O): Bilski: Full CAFC to Reexamine the Scope of Subject Matter Patentability.