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Supreme Court Adopts New Standard on Patent Litigation


— April 30, 2007

In a major patent law development, the Supreme Court on Monday adopted a new, flexible standard that will make it easier for patents to be denied or challenged on the grounds that the invention at issue is too obvious to deserve patent protection.

The unanimous ruling in KSR International Co. v. Teleflex Inc. could also subject existing patent-holders to fresh litigation over obviousness — a threshold issue that is part of every patent determination.

“This leaves patent litigation in a state of total disarray,” says Kenneth Bass III of Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox, part of the legal team representing Teleflex, a Pennsylvania company whose patent for an automobile gas pedal assembly was challenged by KSR, a Canadian firm. Teleflex held onto its patent under a more restrictive standard for finding obviousness used by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. But the high court, in relaxing the standard Monday, ruled against Teleflex and returned the case to the Federal Circuit.

“Judges are now permitted to use their own common sense rather than objective evidence or testimony,” Bass says.

Details here from Tony Mauro of Legal Times via Law.com.


In a major patent law development, the Supreme Court on Monday adopted a new, flexible standard that will make it easier for patents to be denied or challenged on the grounds that the invention at issue is too obvious to deserve patent protection.

The unanimous ruling in KSR International Co. v. Teleflex Inc. could also subject existing patent-holders to fresh litigation over obviousness — a threshold issue that is part of every patent determination.

“This leaves patent litigation in a state of total disarray,” says Kenneth Bass III of Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox, part of the legal team representing Teleflex, a Pennsylvania company whose patent for an automobile gas pedal assembly was challenged by KSR, a Canadian firm. Teleflex held onto its patent under a more restrictive standard for finding obviousness used by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. But the high court, in relaxing the standard Monday, ruled against Teleflex and returned the case to the Federal Circuit.

“Judges are now permitted to use their own common sense rather than objective evidence or testimony,” Bass says.

Details here from Tony Mauro of Legal Times via Law.com.

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