Obviousness is perhaps the most
important issue of patent law. Patents are not to be
granted or enforced if the alleged invention is obvious.
The obviousness determination is central to decisions by
the U.S. Patent Office on whether to grant a
patent. The. U.S. Supreme Court established
guidelines for determining obviousness in its landmark
decision, KSR v. Teleflex.
WHEN TO FILE
THAT PATENT APPLICATION
To ensure that inventors
promptly file their patent applications, the U.S. patent
law, (35 U.S.C. §102(b)) requires that a filing be made
within one year of the date an invention is placed in
public use or on sale in the U.S. Unfortunately, the
judicial standards for an "on sale" bar can be difficult
to apply and inventors may be uncertain as to their
deadline for filing a patent application.
WHAT DOES THAT
PATENT MEAN, LITERALLY?
The day after Memorial Day 2002 the
U.S. Supreme Court killed the controversial patent
standards announced by the Court of Appeals for the
Federal Circuit (CAFC). The CAFC has almost exclusive
appellate jurisdiction in patent matters. This article
summarizes the larger issues resolved by the U.S.
USPTO TAKES THE INITIATIVE FOR COMPUTER
AND SOFTWARE PATENTS
The U.S. Patent and
Trademark Office (USPTO) took the unusual step of
ordering on its own initiative, reexamination of a
prominent software patent (the Eolas Patent No.
5,838,906). Microsoft, encouraged, reverses course.
This landmark decision decides living
organisms are patentable.
CLASSIC CASE -
Your invention is being used only by a
close friend, a relative, or even just your
spouse. Can this be a problem? See what the
US Supreme Court said in 1881.
In a document entitled "The 21st
Century Strategic Plan" the U.S. Patent and Trademark
office ("PTO") proposed on July 5, 2002 a number of very
important changes to the U.S. patent system. Some
of the proposals met with opposition, but the Strategic
Plan seems to have weathered well.