Supreme Court Justices Discuss The Obvious Questions On Patent Obviousness
from the hopefully-they-get-it dept
The arguments against adjusting the standard for obviousness seemed to be focused on two things: that obviousness is impossible to determine in hindsight and what a huge mess would be caused if the standard were suddenly changed. The first one is certainly an issue, but, again it's something that more flexibility should make bearable. Someone looking to show obviousness would need to show not prior art, but enough evidence suggesting that others skilled in the field were moving towards the same thing prior to the invention at hand. As for the second point, it may very well cause a mess as it opens up new ways to challenge many patents granted over the last couple of decades. However, that's hardly a reason not to fix the rule. If those patents were granted incorrectly, as many appear to have been, then it only serves the original, Constitutional, purpose of the patent system to correct the error, no matter what mess it creates initially. Update: Tim Lee has some more quotes, including the justices smacking down Teleflex's lawyer for saying that various patent bar associations have filed briefs in support of keeping the status quo. The justices note that of course patent lawyers want to keep things as they are, because it allows for more patents, and that means more money for patent lawyers.