In the case of In re Bilski, the US Court of Appeals on Thursday rejected a business method patent, in a decision many interpret as restricting or possibly eliminating such patents.
There is a lot of debate about what it means. Legal Times concluded that the appeals court (or SCOTUS) may come out with an entirely new standard; Ars Technica called it “a severe blow” to such patents.
Erick Schonfeld of TechCrunch (posting via the Washington Post) was even more expansive in his interpretation:
If you are one of the recipients of the 1,300 business method patents issued in the U.S. last year, or the thousands more that have been issued rampantly and indiscriminately over the past decade, you are probably out of luck.Some even speculate that this marks the end of software patents, but that seems a bit expansive.
Both business model and software patents are controversial, but it seems like we’ll have several years of uncertainty before this is resolved.