Brief of American Bar Association (KyleR)

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  • The ABA attempts to convey the attitude of its vast membership to the Court
  • Urges the Court to decide this case "incrementally" by holding the claim does not define a "process" as defined by Section 101 because it is an "abstract idea"
    • making a "broad pronouncement of new legal principles" could inadvertently restrict future patent claims
    • the "machine-or-transformation" test should be rejected because it is too rigid of a definition
  • "The same flexibility is appropriately applied here. History teaches us to anticipate developments in fields that are presently undiscovered or undeveloped - such as in the areas of biotechnology and computer software. Developments in some fields - such as in artificial intelligence and neural networks - will raise questions of patentability that are difficult to anticipate. Those developments will represent vital areas of growth and competition for the American economy, and will likely require the spur of patent protection. By contrast, adopting a single, encompassing standard to govern every process invention arising under Section 101 threatens to be over- or under-inclusive. Such a standard is likely to be poorly adapted to the many diverse types of inventions deserving of patent protection that will arise over the coming decades, and may adversely affect those yet-to-be conceived inventions in emerging or unknown technologies."
  • this case can be resolved by saying that the patent claims an abstract idea
    • "Patent law should not interfere with the exercise of human intellect by granting a monopoly on processes in which thinking is central."
    • human judgment is central to these claims
    • Claim 1 of the Bilski patent claims a series of steps. These include “initiating a series of transactions … wherein … consumers purchase [a] commodity at a fixed rate based upon historical averages, said fixed rate corresponding to a risk position of [the] consumer.”
      • the person using this "process" must decide which transaction to perform, the commodity to be used, the risk, etc...
  • it was wrong of the Federal Circuit to declare the "machine-or-transformation" test as conclusive:
    • Benson and Flook both said a patentable process does not necessarily need to be tied to a machine or change material to a new state

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