Some people have asked where they can read the patent which was the object of Bilski v. Kappos. The answer is that it’s a patent application and as such it’s confidential. However, the key excerpts did get published via the opinions of the various courts which rejected it. Keep in mind that the application may have been modified since its filing in 2006, and the authors have expressed their intention to modify it and try again to get it granted. With that said, below is the text we know of.
[UPDATE: We have almost the full text, thanks to contributor Gibus]
“The Bilski patent” is application 08/833,892 filed at the USPTO. The application was rejected was rejected by a USPTO examiner, and again in 2006 by the USPTO’s BPAI, and again by the CAFC in the 2008 in re Bilski case, and again by the US Supreme Court in the 2010 Bilski v. Kappos case.
There are eleven claims in the application.
The US Supreme Court (which got to read the full application) summarised the patent in their Bilski v. Kappos ruling, as:
The key claims are claim 1, which describes a series of steps instructing how to hedge risk, and claim 4, which places the claim 1 concept into a simple mathematical formula. The remaining claims explain how claims 1 and 4 can be applied to allow energy suppliers and consumers to minimize the risks resulting from fluctuations in market demand.
A method for managing the consumption risk costs of a commodity sold by a commodity provider at a fixed price comprising the steps of:
(a) initiating a series of transactions between said commodity provider and consumers of said commodity wherein said consumers purchase said commodity at a fixed rate based upon historical averages, said fixed rate corresponding to a risk position of said consumers;
(b) identifying market participants for said commodity having a counter-risk position to said consumers; and
(c) initiating a series of transactions between said commodity provider and said market participants at a second fixed rate such that said series of market participant transactions balances the risk position of said series of consumer transactions.
In the US Supreme Court’s opinion document, these are cited as “App. 19-20” – probably the page numbers of the application. This excerpt is introduced by the text “”Claim 1 consists of the following steps””, so it seems to be the complete text of Claim 1.
This claim is also cited on page 2 of the CAFC’s 2008 ruling (PDF page 6).
[t]he method of claim 1 wherein said commodity is energy and said market participants are transmission distributors.
Also cited as “App. 19-20”.
The text of Claim 4 isn’t in the Supreme Court’s brief, but they mention what it’s about:
The concept of hedging, described in claim 1 and reduced to a mathematical formula in claim 4
(Page 15; which is PDF page 19)
The court’s document says:
claim 7 advises using well-known random analysis techniques to determine how much a seller will gain “from each transaction under each historical weather pattern.”
Also cited as “App. 19-20”.
That’s it. That’s the text that got published. Here are some links for more info:
- Rejection by the USPTO’s BPAI: fd022257.pdf, March 2006
- Rejection sustained by CAFC: 07-1130.pdf, October 2008
- Rejection sustained by Supreme Court: 08-964.pdf, June 2010
- USPTO refuses to disclose Bilski’s pending patent application – DigitalMajority.org