"Today is US Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens' last day
on the court. He was appointed in 1975. His retirement begins
today, and it seemed appropriate to highlight his concurring
opinion in Bilski v. Kappos [PDF]. I think you'll enjoy it. He
concurs, but in reality he thinks the decision made some glaring
mistakes in judgment. He believes no business method should ever be
granted a patent, and he carefully explains why, in the course of
telling the history of patents in the US. I thought you'd like to
know you are not alone in thinking business methods patents are
"He's actually read and absorbed James Bessen's book Patent
Failure and he comprehends the dangers and the costs that such
patents present. Thank you, Jim Bessen (and co-authors Mike Meurer,
Eric Maskin and Bob Hunt), for all your careful and helpful work,
educating judges and lawyers to the dangers of software patents.
Significantly, Stevens is joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer and
Sotomayor. Even Justice Scalia, in a separate concurring opinion
written by Justice Breyer, agreed that business methods should not
be granted patents. That's five Supreme Court judges. As Tom
Goldstein of SCOTUSblog points out in his analysis of the Bilski
opinion, that means that business methods patents survived by a
single vote. And even at that, the opinion stated that few such
methods should be granted a patent."
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