This Court’s precedents establish that the machine-or-transformation test is a useful and important clue, aninvestigative tool, for determining whether some claimed inventions are processes under §101. The machine-or-transformation test is not the sole test for decidingwhether an invention is a patent-eligible “process.”
(a) initiating a series of transactions between said commodity provider and consumers of said commoditywherein said consumers purchase said commodity at afixed rate based upon historical averages, said fixedrate corresponding to a risk position of said consumers;
(b) identifying market participants for said com-modity having a counter-risk position to said consumers; and
(c) initiating a series of transactions between said commodity provider and said market participants at a second fixed rate such that said series of market par-ticipant transactions balances the risk position of said series of consumer transactions.
Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition ofmatter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefor, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title.
The machine-or-transformation test may well provide a sufficient basis for evaluating processes similar to those inthe Industrial Age—for example, inventions grounded in aphysical or other tangible form. But there are reasons to doubt whether the test should be the sole criterion for determining the patentability of inventions in the Information Age.
This Age puts the possibility of innovation in the hands of more people and raisesnew difficulties for the patent law. With ever more people trying to innovate and thus seeking patent protections fortheir inventions, the patent law faces a great challenge instriking the balance between protecting inventors and not granting monopolies over procedures that others would discover by independent, creative application of generalprinciples. Nothing in this opinion should be read to takea position on where that balance ought to be struck.
A process for training a dog, a series of dance steps, a method of shooting a basketball, maybe even words, stories, or songs if framed as the steps of typing letters or uttering sounds—all would be patent-eligible. I am confident that the term “process” in §101 isnot nearly so capacious.
In sum, it is my view that, in reemphasizing that the“machine-or-transformation” test is not necessarily the sole test of patentability, the Court intends neither to de-emphasize the test’s usefulness nor to suggest that many patentable processes lie beyond its reach.