Spamming Patent Tossed Out As Obvious

from the is-that-good-or-bad? dept

Slashdot points us to the news that a patent (6,631,400 -- which appears to be incorrectly titled "Statement regarding federally sponsored research or development.") on managing spamming efforts has been tossed out as obvious by the federal circuit, following a similar ruling at the lower level.

What's most interesting here is that while some of the steps were thrown out due to prior art, the final step was tossed out due to "common sense." This is important. For quite some time, the courts seemed to insist that obviousness could only be proven through prior art. But something can be both obvious and new. In fact, the patent law has been clear that patents are supposed to be for things that are both new and non-obvious to those skilled in the art, but the question of obviousness was rarely discussed, as everyone just focused on the "newness." That's finally been changing, in large part due to the Supreme Court's KSR ruling that reminded people that obviousness is important, and that it's separate from newness. Since then, both examiners and the courts seem willing to put a bit more common sense into determining obviousness, and that's absolutely a good thing.

Of course, some of you might feel that having a patent on a spamming technique is a good thing, since it could be used to prevent others from spamming, but that didn't seem to be happening anyway, so let's just be happy that a bad patent has been rejected.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 7:10am

    if some1 wants to patent sending spam, i think it should be approved...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 7:17am

    Re:

    Couldn't even make it to the last line of the post, huh?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 7:27am

    We can only hope that our judicial system will begin to use more common sense.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 7:38am

    Re: Re:

    no i missed the last part.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 7:44am

    Question:

    Can rulings like this build a backward precedence for existing patents? I mean, if this type of standard was applied retroactively, isn't there a great many patents on the books that could also be tossed out?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    MBraedley (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 7:50am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Please learn to use the shift key, as there are two of them on your keyboard. Also, more use of the 'o' 'n' and 'e' keys would be appreciated.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Scott (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 7:52am

    Re: Question:

    A) No that's not how patent law works.

    B) Patents expire anyway so it's less about old patents and more about new patents

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 7:57am

    Re: Question:

    No. The patents would need to either go through re-examination or would need to be litigated.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 7:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There seems to be a lot of anger on the intertubes today....I like it!

    Can we make this officially Rant Friday?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 7:58am

    Re: Re: Question:

    Unless there is a re-examination or litigation...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    MBraedley (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 9:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I actually didn't mean for that to come off as sounding angry. More patronizing than anything.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 9:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Patronizing works for me too. I just want to hear rants. They're like candy to me.

    I haven't seen an article I can really go off on in a while, so somebody else needs to pick up the slack until I do....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    m1n4r3t, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 12:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If patronizing = douchey, then mission accomplished. L8r.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Angry Doodie, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 8:32pm

    Tech Dirt Lemming Punks

    Punk Punk Little Punk
    Stupid Punky

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2009 @ 2:40pm

    Rulings like this only apply to things that help producers and marketers and industry. Hence it applies to a spamming patent. If it were a patent on something that helps consumers it would simply be ignored by the court before even making it to trial.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    staff1, Dec 5th, 2009 @ 8:18pm

    obviously

    There is a saying among patent attorneys and others knowledgeable in patents: "every invention is obvious once someone else has done it". You are not a patent attorney and obviously not knowledgeable in patents.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Whatthehellareyoutryingtosay, Dec 6th, 2009 @ 11:45am

    Re: obviously

    Are you saying this patent should've been granted? If so, what are your reasons

    Are you implying the court knows nothing about patents?

    "Evidence of Common Sense: The district court held on summary judgment that KSR style "common sense" would lead one of ordinary skill in the art to perform the iterative step (D). On appeal, the Federal Circuit affirmed that finding - holding particularly that the finding of common sense does not require "explication in any reference or expert opinion.""

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    Yeebok (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 1:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No we bloody well can't make it Rant Friday. What the hell do you think this is ? Does it look ranty ? Is it a Friday ? Yes and Yes ? Well I never ! Maybe it is ranty Friday.

    Hey you, get off my lawn ! :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This