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Patenting allegedly non-technical subject-matter like software and business methods is controversial both from a political and a legal perspective. Political opinions about patents in these fields vary from "indispensable" to "disastrous". Lawyers complain about opaque rules that would violate statutes.
US law allows patents on non-technical subject-matter, but it excludes "abstract ideas", an exclusion that leads to remarkably similar controversies, again both at the political and the legal level.
Coincidentally, in 2010 both the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office and the U.S. Supreme Court addressed these problems, but unfortunately both failed to provide the clarification one had hoped for.
For all these reasons, the technology criterion in patent law is an almost ideal topic for a PhD research project, an exciting intellectual challenge at the same time fulfilling a topical social need.