May 1 2007 by Jason

Supreme Court Issues Two Important Patent Decisions

Clearly, the Supreme Court read my patent rant.  Okay, maybe not, but I’d like to claim that they did.  As many of you know, I have a real issue with the entire patent litigation system.  As many of you also know, Brad and I are huge proponents of invalidating software patents, in general.  We feel that they stiffle innovation and are used mostly by unsavory folks trolling for dollars.

Today, the Supreme Court issued two important rulings.  The first opinion deals with the concept of what is “obvious” under patent law.  In a rare, rare situation, the court was unanimous.  I haven’t read the opinion (yet), but the news is reporting that they slapped down a federal appeals court that went too far in providing patent protection.  Clearly the court is sending a message to the PTO office that it believes there are too many patents being granted. 

In the second case, the Supremes endorsed US law that says US patents are not infringed upon if the products at issue are made and sold in other countries.  In other words, foreign law pertains to goods sold in foreign countries.

It will be some time until we know how / if this actually affects our patent system as it stands today.  For now, it’s a step in the right direction.