"The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, the one that handles patent cases and which ruled in In Re Bilski has ruled in another business methods case, In Re Ferguson [PDF]. The "inventor" tried to patent a "paradigm" for marketing software. No. I'm not kidding. Not just a software patent; a method for *marketing* software. Here's the short version of what the ruling says: As to Applicants' method claims, which at least nominally fall into the category of process claims, this court's recent decision in Bilski is dispositive." Dispositive. So he lost, though he may appeal, and that's why I put the word inventor in quotation marks. I've done the PDF as text for you now. The ruling is the dernier cri in patent law, and if we're looking for prior art, such as in the Microsoft v. TomTom or the Red Hat cases, we need to keep up, so we know what the rules are currently. My favorite part in the decision is the part where they describe one claim: "Applicants … assert, however, that "[a] company is a physical thing, and as such analogous to a machine." " There you go, folks. Reductio ad absurdum: a company is a machine, or at least analogous to one, kinda sorta like one."