As the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) is considering
the Bilski case, where it may finally push back on software and business model patents, it's interesting to hear one of CAFC's judges admit that he was "troubled by the unintended consequences"
of the lawsuits (State Street
) that resulted in software and business model patents being effectively allowed. While it's nice to see Judge Plager worried about this now (just as the CAFC may finally change it), it's a bit of a stretch to claim that the consequences were somehow unintended. There was plenty of discussion around the time of the State Street case concerning what the end result would be if these types of patents were allowed. It's just that too many people seem to think that a change that increases patent coverage couldn't possibly have a negative impact -- despite tons of evidence to the contrary. Hopefully the next time an effort is underway to widen or strengthen patent law, people will look at what a disaster the past four years have been and recognize that expanding patentability is not something that should be done lightly.