“Tomorrow never comes.”, I was told as a youth.
I expect tomorrow, 2010-5-24, will come as usual but with a good chance at an opinion from Scotus on Bilski. Of course there is no news yet, but idle speculation is always good on slow news days.
Others who are speculating hold that Bilski will not get his business methods patent but that software patents may live on. I don’t see it that way, because a business method defined by a list on paper or on a computer screen are indistinguishable in this day and age. One of the supremes asked a question about software patents being a back door for business methods patents. Further, software is covered by copyright so why have protection of “intellectual property” two ways for the same thing, one very long and the other too long, 20 years? Software patents just do not make any sense. Software is a permutation of a finite number of programming language statements or operation codes, nothing more. Giving a listing of the source code to an expert in the language/machine makes it obvious, too. If a machine can “understand” the software well enough to execute it, a human can certainly find it obvious.
Tomorrow is a national holiday in Canada but the supremes will be at work. I hope they file their opinions. That will make a great day, clarifying muddy water. If, somehow, they dodge the issue of software patents, business methods patents will return to bite them as software patents. If they put the nails in the coffin of software patents, the whole world can rejoice in sanity returning to the job of making IT work for us and not the patent trolls. It will be interesting to see what write-downs occur in financial statements as a result. Some very big outfits have billions invested in software patents, hoping to extort many more billions from the world. Free Software may indeed be free tomorrow and a lot more valuable.