JUSTICE BREYER: So that would mean that every — every businessman — perhaps not every, but every successful businessman typically has something. His firm wouldn’t be successful if he didn’t have anything that others didn’t have. He thinks of a new way to organize. He thinks of a new thing to say on the telephone. He thinks of something. That’s how he made his money.
And your view would be — and it’s new, too, and it’s useful, made him a fortune — anything that helps any businessman succeed is patentable because we reduce it to a number of steps, explain it in general terms, file our application, granted?
MR. JAKES: It is potentially patentable, yes.
JUSTICE BREYER: Okay. Well then, if that were so, we go back to the original purpose of the Constitution. Do you think that the Framers would have wanted to require anyone successful in this great, vast, new continent because he thinks of something new to have had to run to Washington and to force any possible competitor to do a search and then stop the wheels of progress unless they get permission? Is that a plausible view of the patent clause?
JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR (addressing Jakes): No, but a patent limits the free flow of information. It requires licensing fees and other steps, legal steps. So you can’t argue that your definition is improving the free flow of information.
:: via Bilski v. Kappos – oral arguments, Monday, November 9, 2009. Later, Justice Breyer would ask Jakes, counsel to Bilski, whether his novel method of teaching antitrust law is patentable.