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What Bilski Means For Biotech Patents 47

Posted by Soulskill
from the reply-hazy-try-again dept.
eldavojohn writes "Patents aren't just a software thing, and while Bilski's dismissal didn't shake the ground for software, it's certainly making waves in the biotech community. You may recall Prometheus v. Mayo, in which doctors fought a biotech startup's methodology patents. Well, medical method patents are now being reconsidered by order of the Supreme Court. Stocks of biotech startups jumped as this news broke, but questions remain on how the lower Federal Circuit court will rule when it reconsiders these cases of medical testing. It's clear the Supreme Court has 'ruled that judges should be more flexible in determining if methods, rather than objects, are eligible for patents, citing emerging technologies such as medical testing.' So Bilski may result in dire news for medical methods and testing patents."
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What Bilski Means For Biotech Patents

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  • Feh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Friday July 02, 2010 @03:32PM (#32778348) Homepage

    The SCOTUS really screwed the pooch here. Considering how the oral arguments went, I was very surprised at the opinion they ended up releasing.

  • Re:Feh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nacturation (646836) * <nacturation @ g m ail.com> on Friday July 02, 2010 @04:39PM (#32779258) Journal

    Um...did you listen to/read the oral arguments from last November? They fucking CRUCIFIED method patents.

    I read the entire transcript and the sense that I got was that the justices were testing the soundness of the arguments by throwing out absurd scenarios that stretch credibility in order to see whether or not it is applicable. This is a common method employed to gauge the applicability of a law to a specific situation. While I'm sure the justices have an opinion on what is and isn't patentable, their job is to explore the limits of the law and the mechanism they use is through questioning. Don't confuse asking a question with having a particular belief.

    I'd be interested in actually hearing the audio of the arguments so that I could know the tone in which those questions were raised. Anyone have a link handy?

  • by krsmav (1410223) on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:04PM (#32779646)
    IAAL. When SCOTUS takes a patent case, they're like a bull in a china shop. They're not engineers or patent lawyers, so they undo a lot of stuff that has been carefully worked out by the Patent Office and special patent courts. That said, the area of non-device patents has grown enormously over the last few years, and there was a great need to set some ground-rules to cut back on overreaching claims while giving people with new ideas a chance to make a profit from their innovations. In my view, Bilski is a monster (and necessary) bitch slap for methodology patents, which had gotten out of bounds. (IMO, the next one will come on copyright overreaching.) The Supremes deliberately left the opinion vague to let the experts work out the details.
  • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by a_n_d_e_r_s (136412) on Friday July 02, 2010 @09:58PM (#32782590) Homepage Journal

    Why do you think the methods would be unavailable to 'other doctors or hospitals?' The patent holders would want to maximize revenue by making the methods available to as many licensees as possible.

    Licensing to as many as possoble may very vell be less profitable then licensing to a few who can pay really good. Thats why 7 miljon people in Africa don't get the medicine against AIDS that they need - they can't afford it.

    The pharmaceuticals are making more money selling the AIDS medicine to those that can pay a high price then letting lots of people that really need it get it for a price they all can afford.

    So no, its often more profitable to sell a medicine to a select few and let the rest die.

    The technical term is the supply and demand curve in micro economics. (google it)

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