This has huge foreign policy implications. But I'm rushed before shabbos and will have to let this perplexing connection sit for awhile.
Oh, Ok, real quick.
Among the many things that has given the U.S. a bad rep in the developing world (where the term "neo-Imperialism" is all the rage -- and I do mean rage) is our insistence on meddling with the patent and copyright law of other nations as a condition of trade agreements. This is not just about getting patents or copyrights enforced. It is about forcing countries to change their laws to conform to a maximalist view of patent protection that is not widely accepted among industrialized nations.
That means business method patents, which many cuntries have held are not merely unenforcable, but contrary to the public interest. So for years, the U.S. has been forcing countries to accept as conditions in bilateral trade agreements, that nothing in their native law or constitutions will prevent enforcement of business method and software patents. It has not made us loved -- except by industry trade associations.
The Federal Circuit's opinion will substantially undermine the effort by U.S. businesses to use the U.S. government to export a maximialist vision of patent protection. On the whole, I think we will find this helps our standing in the developing world.