IPLB.com published my article on the certiorari grant in the Bilski case on Monday. Since I was looking through oral arguments for hints about what justices might think about the state of the patent system, it makes sense to include this as well. It doesn't say anything about patents per se, but shows what Chief Justice Roberts might think of the top patent court.
Carlsbad Tech., Inc. v. HIF Bio, Inc. involved a patented invention, but the issue before the Supreme Court was not a patent issue; it involved federal vs. state jurisdiction. From the oral arguments held on February 24:
Mr. Rhodes: I can't suggest what the Court might finally decide other than to say that -- that, again, the circuit courts of appeal have uniformly applied this. They seem to be --
Chief Justice Roberts: Well, they don't have a choice, right? They can't say, I don't like the Supreme Court rule so I'm not going to apply it, other than the Federal Circuit.
(Laughter in the court.)
This rebuke seems to indicate that as Roberts sees it, the Federal Circuit has a habit of blowing off Supreme Court precedent. That little aside could have deeper meaning in light of the court's decision to take up Bilski.
This was initially reported on Hal Wegner's patent news list shortly after argument. Argument transcripts in the case can be viewed at oyez.org.