In re Bilski is a case before the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals that could, if decided properly, prevent patents on business methods and other abstract ideas. The case came out of Bilski's challenge to the Patent Office's rejection of a patent application on a method of managing investment risks due to weather changes.
Public Knowledge, along with Consumers Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has submitted a friend-of-the-court brief with the Samuelson Law, Technology, and Public Policy Clinic, arguing that non-technological inventions, like abstract business methods, should not be patented. The brief also sets out a five-part test to help courts determine whether or not an invention is technological, as opposed to an abstract idea only marginally connected to technology.
Setting out such a test will prevent patents from granting monopolies on basic ideas, ensuring that patents will continue to reward new inventions without stifling innovation.