Seen & Heard: Baxter Comments on Bilski; Lalor Sets Speed Record

This past October, In re Bilski was a hot topic in the intellectual property field. Bernard L. Bilski had hoped to patent a three-step, non-mechanical process for managing risk consumption of a commodity. In 2006, the United States Patent and Trademark Office rejected Bilski’s patent application, ruling that his claim resembled an abstract idea and not a patentable process. Bilski then took his rejected claim to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Bilski claims that while his process is not tied to a machine, nor does it transfer something tangible (requirements for issuing patents), his process leads instead to a “practical result.” As such, Bilski felt his business methods should not be judged by the same criteria as the majority of other patents.

In the days leading up to the Court’s decision, Boyle Fredrickson Atty. Keith Baxter was contacted by the Wisconsin Law Journal to provide additional perspective on the case. In the resulting article, Baxter correctly predicted the Court’s decision handed down on October 30, 2008. The Federal Circuit affirmed the USPTO’s, ruling citing in a majority decision that although business methods in some instances may indeed be patentable, In re Bilski did not offer the proper grounds for doing so. The judges referred back to Bilski’s method failing the “machine-to-transformation” test as the lead basis for their ruling.

Also in the news recently, Boyle Fredrickson’s Eric Lalor was featured in the BizTimes Bubbler Weekly, a subsection of the BizTimes Milwaukee for breaking a land speed record. Lalor, an avid motorcycle enthusiast, raced his self-built machine at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah on a five-mile straightaway. Lalor averaged 75.38 mph, a national land speed record, over a timed one-mile portion of the track. He is currently awaiting confirmation from officials for a world record.


Lalor’s foray into the world of motorcycle racing was met with initial apprehension from friends, family and Boyle Fredrickson colleagues. However, his passion for the sport slowly won over his critics and has since turned them into some of his staunchest supporters. “At first my wife (Amie) was really worried, but I named the racing company (El-Conn Racing) after my kids, Ellie and Connor, and got them really involved in the whole process,” Lalor says. “They had a lot of fun traveling with me out to Utah, and after the event my wife was the one already trying to make reservations for next year’s race.”

To read further about Lalor’s racing exploits, click Here .


About Boyle Fredrickson

Established in 1999, Boyle Fredrickson has grown to become Wisconsin’s largest intellectual property law firm. You’ve got ideas, we protect them.

Share On Social Media