U.S. Supreme Court clears way for more patent challenges

Apple Store“The U.S. Supreme Court made it easier to challenge patents for failing to introduce genuine innovations, siding with Intel Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. and dealing a setback to the drug and biotechnology industries,” Greg Stohr reports for Bloomberg.

“The justices today unanimously overturned a decades-old test used by the lower court that handles patent appeals, saying the lower court went too far to shield patents from legal attack. The ruling threw out a Teleflex Inc. lawsuit that accuses KSR International Inc. of using a patented invention for adjustable gas pedals,” Stohr reports.

Stohr reports, “The decision extends a Supreme Court trend that has put new limits on patent rights. In today’s case, the justices heeded arguments from large computer companies and automakers that the lower court test, which centered on the requirement that an invention be ‘non-obvious,’ had given too much power to developers of trivial technological improvements.”

“‘Granting patent protection to advances that would occur in the ordinary course without real innovation retards progress,’ Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the court,” Stohr reports.

Stohr reports, “In a second ruling today, the court gave software makers new protections from patent lawsuits on exports, ruling that Microsoft Corp. doesn’t owe damages to AT&T Inc. for copies of the Windows operating system installed on computers overseas.”

Full article here.
“The U.S. Supreme Court made it easier to challenge patents for failing to introduce genuine innovations…” Microsoft’s patent portfolio is doomed. wink


  1. So, a patent has to be revolutionary, not evolutionary? That sounds great to me. Lets see some real innovation.

    OTOH, Touchscreens have been around for a while. Might make it harder for Apple to keep a lid on multitouch technology since it is a natural evolution of touch screen.

  2. Hopefully the US will completely abandon software “patents” as they are inherently “evil”. They are patents on IDEAS not on specific implementations of an idea.

    I cannot patent a “time machine” and collect money from the first person who comes up with a method of actually creating and manufacturing one. But if I figured out how one could be built I could patent that specific implementation, but it would not cover a completely different method of building a time machine if someone else figured out an alternative to my method.

    What makes software patents so horrendous and disgusting and evil is that they do not require a specific implementation but rather a broad general “idea” no matter how that method is achieved.

    There should be absolutely no such thing as software patents. They fly in the face of logic and reason and instead of protecting the advancement of human achievement they greatly retard it. Only allow patents on very specific implementations.

  3. Judge Crater,

    Even in the absence of software patents, MS would have to rewrite OS X to work with generic PCs, as they could not just grab Apples program off the shelf and sell it as is. Software patents just prevent people from using the same ideas in their own code.

  4. WASHINGTON (AP) — Microsoft Inc. denied today that it had sent an opertative back in time to prevent its arch rival, Apple Inc., from patenting a time machine before Microsoft did . . . does . . . will.

    Apple CEO Steve Jobs will make the allegation tomorrow when he steps for the first time into the Insanely Great, for the maiden voyage of the new iClock.

    Apple sold its one-millionth iClock last week, but Jobs went back two years tomorrow at 9 a.m. Pacific Time to present himself with the introductory model.

    The federal government said next week that it still plans to investigate what Microsoft calls Apple’s bookkeeping shennanigans — iClocks that for two years have been flying off the shelves though it hasn’t been invented yet.

    Microsoft’s late entry into this particular market has been viewed with some suspicion by Apple’s legions of fans who point out that Bill Gates disappeared next month in an iClock but returned last year in what they charge as an ugly “knock-off” that users can’t buy, only rent, and that Microsoft calls the ME II.

    Apple and Microsoft officials will decline to return our calls tomorrow seeking comment.

    Upstart Amiga’s CEO, Abraham Lincoln, told us yesterday by telegraph tomorrow that any statement by him would be made through his company’s new public-relations secretary, Al Gore.

  5. PatentTroll:
    “”multitouch technology since it is a natural evolution of touch screen.”

    there’s so much prior art with Multitouch that Apple can’t patent it.”

    Don’t count on it. Depending on what the prior art is and how Apple implemented it, they could have very compelling patents on it and how it works.

  6. To say they didn’t develop multi touch assumes that *all* implementations of multiple simultaneous touch interfaces are identical and you can’t patent specific implementations of it. I’m not a patent lawyer but I suspect this is not correct.

  7. What really pisses me off:

    I already wrote that Time Wars.
    Clearly, you read that on the Labor Day MDN special column, and decided to post it back here last month. Today.

    See what ChrissyOne will writ tomorrow later in this thread… a few hours ago.

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