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Posts in US Supreme Court

Another KSR Retrospective

On that fateful day some 27 months ago, April 30, 2007 to be precise, the United States Supreme Court decided that the well established and functional bright line rule for obviousness was too rigid.  No longer must there be a teaching, motiviation or suggestion to render an invention unpatentable for obviousness reasons.  No in this new brave world we need…

KSR Day at the NAPP Conference in San Diego

I am still in San Diego, California at the Annual Conference of the National Association of Patent Practitioners, which is being held at the Embassy Suites Hotel, which is roughly across the street from the U.S.S. Midway.  The conference has been a good one with some excellent presentations.  This morning there was a Bilski presentation, and since then we have…

Obscure Patents: KSR Does Not Mean Much

So much has been made about the United States Supreme Court’s decision in KSR v. Teleflex, which happened just over 2 years ago. Occasionally I like to take a look at how the Patent Office is handling KSR. Admittedly, this is not a scientific study, and is more aimed at having fun and perhaps also explaining so we never forget just how absurd the Supreme Court’s decision in KSR actually was. Those familiar with the KSR decision and history will recall that the non-patent experts on the Supreme Court, including Justice Antonin Scalia who openly admitted he didn’t understand patent law during oral arguments — calling patents “gobbledygook,” decided to completely do away with an objective, understandable and repeatable test in favor of a completely subjective test without any concrete boundaries. Yes, in their infinite wisdom the Supreme Court decided that the law of what is obvious should be conducted on a case by case analysis and an invention is obvious if it is “common sense.”

The History of Gene Patents Part I

First, let me say that it is really a complete misnomer to refer to “gene patents” because despite what the popular press may write, and perhaps believe, genes are not patented.  Nevertheless, I will cave into the masses and concede (at least for now) the linguistic high ground and refer to gene-related innovations that are examined by patent authorities and…

Supreme Court Ignores US Constitution

By now you have probably heard that the United States Supreme Court lifted the stay Ordered by Justice Ginsberg late on Monday and the bankruptcy deal that will give Chrysler to Fiat, UAW workers and the US and Canadian governments is now clear to go through, most likely on Wednesday, June 10, 2009.  I will not call this deal a…

US Supreme Court Grants Cert. in Bilski

The United States Supreme Court granted cert. in Bilski v. Doll. This means that the last chapter on business methods and software has not yet been written, which could be good news or bad news depending upon your particular take. I have wondered out loud about allowing software patents as patentable subject matter, which I think is the right thing to do myself.

History of Software Patents II: Arrhythmia Research

In the Arrhythmia case the invention in question was directed to the analysis of electrocardiographic signals in order to determine certain characteristics of heart function. In essence, the invention was a monitoring device. It had been discovered that 15% to 25% of heart attack victims are at high risk for ventricular tachycardia, which can be treated by the administration of drugs. Unfortunately, the drugs used have undesirable and dangerous side effects, which led the inventor to come up with a monitoring device capable of determining which heart attack victims were at the highest risk for ventricular tachycardia.

The History of Software Patents

Since the United States Supreme Court first addressed the patentability of computer software in Gottschalk v. Benson the law surrounding the patentability of software has changed considerably, leaving many to wonder whether software is patentable at all. Originally in Benson, the Supreme Court decided that software was not patentable, but then later retracted the blanket prohibition against patenting software.