From the Washington Post:
"A U.S. appeals court has rejected patenting a way to smooth energy costs in a closely watched decision that could narrow the scope of "business method" patents.
The case turned on whether an inventor can patent an abstract process, something that involves nothing more than thoughts, and was closely watched by software makers, Internet companies, investment houses and other businesses...
The high-profile case was heard by a 12-judge panel of the appeals court that specializes in patent matters.
"We hold that the applicants' process as claimed does not transform any article to a different state or thing," the majority opinion said.
"Purported transformations or manipulations simply of public or private legal obligations or relationships, business risks, or other such abstractions cannot meet the test because they are not physical objects or substances," added the opinion written by Chief Judge Paul Michel. Three judges dissented."
The majority have, however, practically invited the Supreme Court to review the decision:
"Thus, we recognize that the Supreme Court may ultimately decide to alter or perhaps even set aside this test to accommodate emerging technologies."