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Justice John Paul Stevens on Bilski and Business Methods Patents, as text

Jul 01, 2010, 18:34 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Pamela Jones)

"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 absurd.

"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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