phoey writes: It appears that patents on business processes have finally struck a chord with lawyers, specifically tax lawyers. There is currently a court case (Wealth Transfer Group v. Rowe No. 3:2006cv00024) that will decide (if not settled) whether business processes apply to tax law strategies. It will be interesting to see if the ruling is in favor of carving out an exception for tax law strategies, overturning the ruling from State Street making business processes unpatentable, or neither. State Street Bank & Trust Co. v. Signature Financial Group, 149 F.3d 1368 (Fed. Cir. Jul. 23, 1998).
With little real world experience in law (currently in my second year of law school concentrating in Intellectual Property), I was surprised by the analogy drawn by the patent attorney in the article. He mentions that doctor's have learned to deal with patents on the medical devices they use, so lawyers will have to learn to deal with patents on business processes. The better analogy would be if Doctor's could not perform a particular surgery or surgical technique because it had a business patent. This would most certainly cause outrage in the medical community.
As a software engineer, I have seen first hand how patents on business processes (especially obvious ones) can limit innovation in the software development field. It will be interesting to see how the "self-regulating" field of law will resolve this question of patentability of business processes.