School of Law News
USD Law Prof. Provides Amicus Brief to U.S. Supreme Court for Landmark IP Case
SAN DIEGO (November 25, 2009) – University of San Diego (USD) School of Law Assistant Professor Ted Sichelman is among a team of law and business professors that has submitted an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court for review during deliberations in the landmark intellectual property case Bernard L. Bilski and Rand A. Warsaw v. David J. Kappos (formerly Bernard L. Bilski and Rand A. Warsaw v. John Doll).
In Bilski v. Kappos, the Supreme Court will consider the hotly-debated issue of whether so-called "business methods"—such as tax-avoidance schemes and ways to hedge risk in market transactions—are the types of "subject matter" that can be patented. In so doing, many observers believe that the court will discuss or even decide the contours of the patentability of computer software.
Sichelman, who specializes in patent law and intellectual property, joined several well-known professors, including Stanford University Law School’s Mark Lemley, in an amicus brief to the court to argue that the scope of patentable subject matter generally should be broad.
Specifically, the professors assert that innovative activity today comes in all forms and includes the seemingly “non-tangible” such as software and other applications of discoveries and insights in science and engineering. The professors conclude that while purely “abstract” ideas should not be patentable, any application of those ideas in products and processes in usable forms should be eligible for patenting.
About Professor Ted Sichelman
Previously, Sichelman practiced in the areas of intellectual property litigation and transactions, appellate litigation, and venture finance at the law firms of Heller Ehrman and Irell & Manella. He has participated in a number of pro bono cases, including playing a substantial role in a recent win in the U.S. Supreme Court for an injured employee in MetLife v. Glenn (2008). Sichelman clerked for Judge A. Wallace Tashima of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Before practicing law, he founded and ran a venture-backed software company, Unified Dispatch. Sichelman designed the company’s software and is a named inventor on several filed patents.
Sichelman’s current research efforts examine the effects of the patent system on entrepreneurial companies, the role of patent law in technology commercialization, quantum game theoretic modeling of intellectual property law, real options modeling of litigation, and the financing of start-up and early-stage technology companies.
About the University of San Diego School of Law
Recognized for the excellence of its faculty, curriculum and clinical programs, the University of San Diego (USD) School of Law enrolls approximately 1,000 Juris Doctor and graduate law students from around the United States and throughout the world. The law school is best known for its offerings in the areas of tax, intellectual property, international law, public interest, and business and corporate law.
USD School of Law is one of the 81 law schools elected to the Order of the Coif, a national honor society for law school graduates. The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Founded in 1954, the law school is part of the University of San Diego, a private, nonprofit, independent, Roman Catholic university chartered in 1949.
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