Supreme Court on Bilski – no but whatever..

The Supreme Court opinion in re:Bilski is in.  With typical ambivalence it upheld the federal court’s decision while rejecting it’s reasoning, replacing the machine-or-transformation test with essentially no test at all. The Court rejected the patent just because it was an “abstract idea”. From the syllabus:

The machine-or-transformation test is not the sole test for patent eligibility under §101. Although that test may be a useful and important clue or investigative tool, it is not the sole test for deciding whether an invention is a patent-eligible “process” under §101. In holding to the contrary, the Federal Circuit violated two principles of statutory interpretation: Courts “‘should not read into the patent laws limitations and conditions which the legislature has not expressed,’” Diamond v. Diehr, 450 U. S. 175, 182, and, “[u]nless otherwise defined, ‘words will be interpreted as taking their ordinary, contemporary, common meaning,’” ibid. The Court is unaware of any ordinary, contemporary, common meaning of “process” that would require it to be tied to a machine or the transformation of an article.
. . .
Because petitioners’ patent application can be rejected under the Court’s precedents on the unpatentability of abstract ideas, the Court need not define further what constitutes a patentable “process,” beyond pointing to the definition of that term provided in §100(b) and looking to the guideposts in Benson, Flook, and Diehr. Nothing in today’s opinion should be read as endorsing the Federal Circuit’s past interpretations of §101.

So this would seem to leave the whole question of software patents as wide open as ever.

Opinion is at