The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) has come down on the side of common sense in its recent ruling: In re Bernard L. Bilski and Rand A. Warsaw (Bilski).
The case concerned a method for hedging risk in the field of commodities trading. The issue before the court was whether the subject matter as claimed in the patent application (serial no. 08/833,892) was the kind of subject matter that is protectable by patent (in patent legal jargon, the court ruled as to whether the claimed subject matter was statutory under 35 U.S.C. § 101).
The CAFC evaluated the claimed method and based on a “machine or transformation” test decided the method was not the sort of thing that should be patentable.