Claim Against Business Model Patents – Supreme Court Skeptical

DFN: See my previous blog that tees up the patent case:
Essentially the issue is whether business processes / software should or should not be eligible for patents; right now they are, but, should the Court rule otherwise, that could lead to repeal of past patents, which as I said before could be catastrophic.

Justices Show Supreme Skepticism About Broad Business Model Patents
By Mike Masnick, 11/10/2009 @ 9:09AM

You never know how they’ll actually rule, but in hearing the oral arguments in the Bilski case over the patentability of business models (and, most likely, software), one thing became quite clear: nearly every Supreme Court Justice was seriously skeptical of outlandish patent claims. We’ve noted, of course, that the Supreme Court over the past few years has taken a renewed interest in patent law, pushing back time and time again against the Federal Circuit (CAFC), who in the 80s and 90s seemed to take the position that more patents was always a good thing. Sensing that, with Bilski, CAFC even pushed back on its own earlier rules, and it appears that the Supreme Court at least agrees that the era of crazy business model patents should end now. The full transcript is worth reading, but Justin Levine did a nice job summarizing some of the highlights in the questioning by the Justices:

JUSTICE GINSBURG: But you say you would say tax avoidance methods are covered, just as the process here is covered. So an estate plan, tax avoidance, how to resist a corporate takeover, how to choose a jury, all of those are patentable?

MR. JAKES: They are eligible for patenting as processes, assuming they meet the other statutory requirements.

JUSTICE BREYER: So that would mean that every — every businessman — perhaps not every, but every successful businessman typically has something. His firm wouldn’t be successful if he didn’t have anything that others didn’t have. He thinks of a new way to organize. He thinks of a new thing to say on the telephone. He thinks of something. That’s how he made his money. And your view would be — and it’s new, too, and it’s useful, made him a fortune — anything that helps any businessman succeed is patentable because we reduce it to a number of steps, explain it in general terms, file our application, granted?

MR. JAKES: It is potentially patentable, yes.


King Tut’s tomb – 5 year renovation project

DFN: I’ve been to the King Tut exhibit when it was in LA 30 years ago, great exhibit. I’d gotten tickets to go see it in SF, this year, but had trouble getting the tickets printed off Ticketmaster. Sent email asking for help and didn’t get any, Ticketmaster very disappointing.

King Tut’s tomb set for 5 year renovation project
(AP) – 18 hours ago, 11/10/200 @ 8AM PST

CAIRO — Egypt and the California-based Getty Conservation Institute announced Tuesday a five year project to restore the Tomb of Tutankhamun, the boy king whose golden mask and artifacts have long awed the world.

The project to restore the country’s most famous tomb is the latest collaboration between the Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities and the institute, which have in the past restored other tombs nearby and designed airtight cases to display Egypt’s mummies.

Since the small, four-roomed tomb and its famous golden burial mask were discovered in 1922 by British archaeologist Howard Carter, observers have noted strange brown spots marring the lavish wall paintings.

"I always see the tomb of King Tut and wonder about those spots, which no scientist has been able to explain," said Zahi Hawass, the head of the SCA, in a statement.

"Now I am happy that the Getty will look at the tomb and preserve its beautiful scenes," he added.

Thousands of tourists visit the underground chambers in the Valley of the Kings every month, bringing heat and humidity, which is damaging the more than 3,000-year-old tomb.

Tutankhamun wasn’t Egypt’s most powerful or important king, but his staggering treasures, rumors of a mysterious curse that plagued Carter and his team — debunked by experts long ago — and several books and TV documentaries dedicated to him have added to his intrigue.

Archeologists in recent years have tried to resolve lingering questions over how he died and his precise royal lineage. In 2005, scientists removed Tut’s mummy from his tomb and placed it into a portable CT scanner for 15 minutes to obtain a three-dimensional image. The scans were the first done on an Egyptian mummy.

The results ruled out that Tut was violently murdered — but stopped short of definitively concluding how he died around 1323 B.C.

A recent highly publicized global tour of Tutankhamun’s artifacts drew more than 4 million people during its initial four-city American-leg.

The conservation plan will involve a two year research period to determine the causes of deterioration, followed by three years of implementation. The SCA said it had yet to decide how long the tomb would be closed during that time.

The Getty Conservation institute works to advance conservation techniques for art, particularly ancient sites, around the world.