Are Patent Rulings Impacting Court Cases?

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The Wall Street Journal sure thinks so. Here is an excerpt from a WSJ article titled ‘ How a Patent Ruling Is Changing Court Cases’ that drives the point home –

Last week, a federal judge in San Francisco who previously had allowed a patent-infringement lawsuit [by Friskit] to proceed against RealNetworks Inc. changed course and dismissed the case, citing the Supreme Court’s April ruling in KSR v. Teleflex. The case is believed to be the first in which a trial-court judge has reversed his position and dismissed a case in the defendant’s favor, citing the KSR decision.

"The Supreme Court has made it clear what it thinks," the judge said at a hearing in the case. "Patents are being issued on obvious inventions, and it tightened the reins."

The Supreme Court laid out the obviousness doctrine in 1851, saying that a patent requires more "skill and ingenuity" than that of "an ordinary mechanic acquainted with the business." Since virtually every litigated patent case includes an assertion of obviousness, and since the U.S. patent office examines patent applications for obviousness, many legal commentators have called KSR the most important patent case in decades.

"Patentees have long had the upper hand in patent litigation but the KSR case has shifted that balance of power back to defendants," said Dennis Crouch, a law professor at the University of Missouri.

This means that applicants need to be much more careful while putting in their applications if they want the proceedings to progress without any hitches. The best, and ultimately cheapest, option would be to let experienced professionals handle the application procedure from the beginning, so that none of the problems arise later on to delay or derail the process.

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