Monday, July 05, 2010

BIO giddy?

Chris O'Brien of the San Jose Mercury News wrote of Bilski:

The counterargument is made by the American Intellectual Property Law Association and the Biotechnology Industry Organization [BIO]. The latter is still giddy from a Supreme Court decision 30 years ago that allowed patents for genetically modified material, over the objections of those who felt patents of living things were an abomination.

O'Brien is referring to Diamond v. Chakrabarty, 447 U.S. 303 (1980). Whether BIO is, or even was, "giddy" about Chakrabarty remains to be seen.

O'Brien wrote:

The enormously complex ruling, which involved multiple dissenting and concurring opinions, boils downs to this: Some business method patents are OK. Unless they are too abstract. Bilski's is too abstract, so it goes in the dustbin. How do you figure out where to draw the line? The court didn't say.

The opinion of the court, by Justice Kennedy, is only 16 pages long, and is not complex. One can subtract out the portions not joined by Justice Scalia, which thus don't have five votes, and the "five vote" part is even shorter. All justices concurred in the judgment (Bilski loses).


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