A case challenging the patentability of business methods will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in December. The outcome may rock innovators and inventors in the construction industry. Bilski v. Doll is Bernard Bilski’s last appeal. Doll is John Doll, acting director of the U.S. patent office, which has rejected Bilski’s patent for a method to hedge risks in commodities trading. The case would normally be a far cry from construction, except the language of the most recent rejection, by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in October, added a new bar for any business-method patent
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.