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In re Bilski

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
545 F.3d 943 (2008)


Bilski and a colleague (collectively “Bilski”) (plaintiff) submitted a patent application containing 11 claims that recited a method of hedging risk in the field of commodities trading. The patent examiner rejected Bilski’s application under 35 U.S.C. § 101 because the claims only solved a purely mathematical problem and thus was solely an abstract idea not directed to the technological arts. Bilski appealed to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (“PTO”) Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (“Board”), which held that the examiner erred in applying the “technological arts” test, but nonetheless affirmed the examiner’s rejection of Bilski’s application. The Board held that to be patent-eligible, an invention must transform subject matter from one state to another. However, Bilski’s claims did not involve the “transformation” of anything and thus did not produce a “useful, concrete, and tangible result.” Bilski appealed the Board’s rejection of the application.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Michel, J.)

Dissent (Newman, J.)

Dissent (Mayer, J.)

Dissent (Rader, J.)

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