Bilski v. Kappos

130 S.Ct. 3218
561 US __
177 L. Ed. 2d 792

Bernard L. BILSKI and Rand A. Warsaw, Petitioners,
David J. KAPPOS, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director, Patent and Trademark Office.

No. 08-964.

Supreme Court of United States.

Argued November 9, 2009.
Decided June 28, 2010.

[130 S.Ct. 3219]


[130 S.Ct. 3220]


[130 S.Ct. 3221]


[130 S.Ct. 3222]


[130 S.Ct. 3223]

        J. Michael Jakes, Washington, DC, for petitioners.

        Malcolm L. Stewart, Washington, DC, for respondent.

        J. Michael Jakes, Counsel of Record, Erika H. Arner, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, L.L.P., Washington, DC, Ronald E. Myrick, Denise W. DeFranco, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, L.L.P., Cambridge, Massachusetts, for petitioner.

        Cameron F. Kerry, General Counsel, Quentin A. Palfrey, Associate General Counsel, Joan Bernott Maginnis, Assistant General Counsel, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, DC, Raymond T. Chen, Solicitor and Deputy General Counsel, Thomas W. Krause, Scott C. Weidenfeller, Associate Solicitors, Alexandria, VA, Elena Kagan, Solicitor General, Counsel of Record, Malcolm L. Stewart, Deputy Solicitor General, Tony West, Assistant Attorney General, Ginger D. Anders, Assistant to the Solicitor General, Scott R. McIntosh, Mark R. Freeman, Attorneys, Department of Justice, Washington, DC, for respondent.

        Justice KENNEDY delivered the opinion of the Court, except as to Parts II-B-2 and II-C-2.1

        The question in this case turns on whether a patent can be issued for a claimed invention designed for the business world. The patent application claims a procedure for instructing buyers and sellers how to protect against the risk of price fluctuations in a discrete section of the economy. Three arguments are advanced for the proposition that the claimed invention is outside the scope of patent law: (1) it is not tied to a machine and does not transform an article; (2) it involves a method of conducting business; and (3) it is merely an abstract idea. The Court of Appeals ruled that the first mentioned of these, the so-called machine-or-transformation test, was the sole test to be used for determining the patentability of a "process" under the Patent Act, 35 U.S.C.