Lawyer Points Out That Simultaneous Invention Can Get Patents Tossed
from the well,-it's-a-start dept
However, beyond just a "defense" on patent claims, we've often pointed out that independent invention actually should represent pretty good evidence that an invention doesn't meet the criteria for "non-obviousness" to those skilled in the art that is required for a patent. After all, if multiple folks skilled in the art are all coming up with the same invention, it seems to be rather definitive proof that the concept was an "obvious" next step to those skilled in the art. Of course, whenever we bring this up, patent system defenders talk about what a ridiculous idea this is and how it would be a disaster in practice. Unfortunately for them, the actual research suggests it would actually be quite reasonable.
However, with so many patent attorneys insisting that it's ridiculous that simultaneous or independent invention would be used to prove obviousness, it's interesting to see a patent attorney over at Patently-O point out that it's perfectly reasonable to use simultaneous invention as proof of obviousness, even though he admits it's "seldom used." Hopefully, that's going to start changing. If the purpose of the patent system is only to protect "new and non-obvious" inventions -- it would seem like de facto evidence of obviousness that others are doing the same damn thing. If you have to keep the patent system at all, such a test for obviousness (rather than just in court cases, as is suggested here) would be a tremendously useful step in the right direction.