Back in May of last year, we wrote about the Progress & Freedom Foundation -- an organization we rarely agree with -- submitting an amicus brief in a case saying that the test for patent obviousness needs to change. The brief was for the KSR v. Teleflex lawsuit, which Business Week is now writing about. KSR has asked the Supreme Court to look into the case, after the Appeals Court tossed out a lower court ruling, saying that the only test for obviousness is to find prior art of some sort. There's not much new, but the Business Week article presents a good summary of the situation -- and highlights, specifically, how simply combining two separately existing things shouldn't be patentable. This is one of the big complaints people have with patents like those found in the NTP-RIM case, where it's simply about combining "wireless" and "email." Just because something is wireless or on the internet doesn't mean it deserves new patent protection -- and it's good to see more mainstream articles discussing this issue. The real issue is that many of these patents really try to patent a general solution to a problem -- but if you presented that problem to lots of people with knowledge in the field they'd all come up with a number of solutions, many of which would be similar. Recognizing that a problem can be solved doesn't deserve monopoly protection when lots of people could independently solve the same solution. Why not let the market decide which solution is really the best?
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