Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Supreme Court is likely to sideline patent cases

The 29 September issue of Barrons has an article by their D.C. reporter, Jim McTague, on patent issues at the Supreme Court next year. He got his gossip from Seth Waxman (author of one of the more scientifically-poor anti-Bilski briefs) of Wilmer Hale. McTague writes: ... points out that the [Supreme Court] has an unusual docket because, for the first time, there are no patent cases scheduled [for the 2008-2009 term]. Not only are patent cases a regular feature of the court's calendar - they also represent the most significant body of law for U.S. business today. Is that really true - patent law is the "most significant body of law"? If so, that's ironic, because much of patent law governs the activities of one of the most significantly mismanaged government agencies - the PTO. Maybe there would be less of a need for patent caselaw if the PTO was run by professionals. McTague writes further: ... thinks the Supremes want to give the lower courts and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office time to digest prior decisions and actions now making their way through the lower courts, including attempts to patent business processes. The Supreme Court is passing on patent cases while the justices take some remedial college courses on basic science and engineering.