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