Mass Law Blog

Listen to Oral Argument in Bilski v. Kappos

by | Dec 10, 2009

Well, sort of.

You can wait until the end of the term to hear oral argument in Bilski v. Kappos, or you can listen to Professor Doug Lichtman’s students’ impassioned reading of the transcript, on the superb Intellectual Property Colloquium.  I found this reading to be very accessible – a new twist on audiobooks.

IP Colloquium is by far my favorite legal podcast.  Professor Lichtman has great guests and provides thoughtful commentary.  This Shakespearean treatment of an appeal hearing is inspired.

(Nice summary of the background of Bilski, and what’s at issue, on Bill Trout’s blog).

And, some nice quotes from the justices, trying to figure out the limits of patent protection.  Could a patent protect –

“somebody who writes a book on how to win friends and influence people?””horse whisperers?””a method for speed dating?”

“a great wonderful, really original method of teaching antitrust law?”

“actuarial tables and risk formulas?”

In the meantime the CAFC is applying its “machine or transformation” test from its en banc ruling in In re Bilski.  A recent example of this is Prometheus Labs v. Mayo, issued on September 16, 2009, where the patentable invention was a “pro-drug that upon administration to a patient converts to 6M-P, which are used to treat inflammatory bowel diseases (“IBD”) such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.” The CAFC held, among other things, that patent law does protect the transformation of natural phenomena where a method “transform[s] an article into a different state or thing.”   This case will be an important contribution to post-Bilski law as applied to life science-based method claims, assuming Bilski emerges from the USSC relatively unscathed.

Update: the recording of the actual oral argument in Bilski is here (mp3 file).