What I don't get about the in re Bilski
case argued Thursday at the Federal Circuit is this—why is there any division at all within the financial sector? The lines are a lot fuzzier than, say, the patent reform battle in D.C., which was Big Tech v. Big Pharma but became Big Tech v. Big Pharma et al.
But why would Goldman Sachs, see recent Economist, or any other financial services business, support business method patents? Or American Express and Accenture, as Mike Masnick notes? Seems like they all stand to lose much more than they gain from patent licensing and litigation, with the threat of another non-practicing entity like DataTreasury. From an industry-wide perspective, the relatively recent arms race doesn't make sense. (and of course the big banking industry trade group came out critical of State Street). So why would any (profitable) financial company be opposed to rolling back the 1998 State Street decision that allowed business method patents?
Are there some banks that have amassed giant arsenals—the Microsoft(s) of the banking world? (Microsoft had less than a dozen patents before the 1998 State Street decision, and now has thousands, according to a former IPLB reporter who was inside the Microsoft war room a year ago.)
Is there a giant settlement, or license agreement, or some other indicator of corporate behavior that would indicate why a particular financial company has a pro-BM patent standpoint? Who are the winners and losers of the first 10 years of biz-meth patent war? Who were the aggressors, the victims? I haven't been in the patents game long enough to know, but I'd sure be interested to talk to some lawyers or bank employees or anyone who thinks they know the real story of the stance of any particular company that has a Bilski amicus brief (like maybe the one they work for.) Litigation, licensing, everything. Let's start collecting the data.
On today's oral arguments, there's legal-geek commentary from an eyewitness here (via 271 blog, with more Bilski argument links). My own article on Bilski (with extras here) focused on issues outside the legal arguments entirely, but I still like linking to it and it has a cool picture.
PTT update: Long day closing our June issue delayed today's fourth post in my four-part series on the lawsuits against and subpoena of lawyer-blogger (and, perhaps, reporter) Patent Troll Tracker. I need a real weekend but that one is coming early next week.
(download Bilski oral arguments on the Fed. Circuit site)