University of Pittsburgh
February 23, 2010

Pitt Law Professor Available to Discuss U.S. Supreme Court Case on Business Method Patenting

Pending Decision in "Bilski v. Kappos" could drastically change scope of patentable subject matter, says Prof. Janice M. Mueller, author of widely used text on patent law
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-According to Janice M. Mueller, University of Pittsburgh professor of law, "The entire patent world is waiting with great anticipation for the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in "Bilski v. Kappos."" The October 2008 Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) decision, now under review, relates to the patenting of business methods.

"The Supreme Court's decision could drastically limit the scope of patentable subject matter in the U.S. It may profoundly impact not only business method patenting, but also protection for medical diagnostics, software, and other types of method/process inventions," said Mueller.

In Mueller's book "Patent Law, Third Edition" (Aspen Publishers, 2009), she notes that a perceived lack of clarity in Federal Circuit law over where to draw the line between patentable process inventions and unpatentable abstract ideas led the Supreme Court to grant review of these issues in the Bilski case. At issue is whether former Pittsburgher Bernard L. Bilski's claimed method of hedging risk in the field of commodities trading can be patented.

Mueller teaches and writes in the area of intellectual property law with an emphasis on patent law. A registered U.S. patent attorney and chemical engineer, she began her legal career as a patent agent in Minneapolis, Minn. After clerking at the CAFC, Mueller litigated patent and copyright infringement cases as an honors program trial attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice. She is a frequent lecturer for the American Bar Association's Intellectual Property Law Section and the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA). She has served on the AIPLA's Amicus Committee and chairs the Expert Advisory Committee on Intellectual Property for the international nonprofit Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research.