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University of Florida law experts available to discuss U.S. Supreme Court cases

Bilski v. Kappos

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue its decision in Bilski v. Kappos on Monday, a patent case that could re-define patent eligibility and affect the legality of already existing patents.

When Bernard Bilski and Rand Warsaw invented a process to help businesses avoid certain risks through complex mathematics, they sought to patent their method. But the patent proposal was rejected because it dealt with the abstract ideas of mathematics, rather than being applicable to a physical machine, program or more tangible use.

The questions raised are whether a “‘process’ must be tied to a particular machine or apparatus, or transform a particular article into a different state or thing (“machine-or-transformation” test), to be eligible for patenting under 35 U.S.C. § 101″ and does the “machine-or-transformation” test conflict with “the clear Congressional intent that patents protect “method[s] of doing or conducting business,” according to the U.S. Supreme Court.

UF College of Law professor Elizabeth Rowe is available to discuss the case and the ramifications of the court’s decision. Rowe is an expert in patent law and was named Director of Program in Intellectual Property Law in 2010. She is a frequent speaker at national conferences on intellectual property and also serves as an expert witness in litigation matters. View her faculty page.

Contact her at 352-273-0927 or

McDonald v. City of Chicago

The U.S. Supreme Court is also expected to release its decision in McDonald v. City of Chicago on Monday.

This widely anticipated decision involves not only the legality of a handgun ban in Chicago and Oak Park, Ill., but also the important question as to whether state and local governments can, through the theory of incorporation, violate the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms. In 2008, the Supreme Court found that the federal government and the District of Columbia could not violate Second Amendment rights, but left open the question that the court is expected to address in the McDonald case. The ramifications of the court’s decision will be felt not only in the nation’s courts but also in state legislatures, in city and town councils and in political debates during this heated election season.

UF College of Law expert Michael Allan Wolf is available to discuss the case and the ramifications of the court’s decision. Wolf, a lawyer and historian, is the Richard E. Nelson Chair in Local Government Law, whose expertise includes constitutional law and history, including the incorporation doctrine that is the key issue in McDonald v. City of Chicago. View his faculty page.

He can be reached at 352-273-0934 (office), 352-359-2497 (cell) or

The University of Florida has a broadcast studio equipped for live or live-to-tape interviews through our KU digital satellite uplink. For radio networks, we also have an ISDN live for clean audio interviews. To contact the UF College of Law Communications Office, call 352-273-0650 or e-mail

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