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Damage of patent law reduced in major decisions

updated 03:00 pm EDT, Mon April 30, 2007

Harm of patent law reduced

Two major new legal rulings may reduce the restrictions of patent law. In the biggest of the pair, the US Supreme Court has overturned a test used for decades in patent appeals; while a lower court supported the notion (in Teleflex v. KSR) that challengers must show a "teaching, suggestion or motivation" for combining previous inventions, the Supreme Court was persuaded by the likes of Intel, Cisco, Microsoft and General Motors that many such inventions are simply obvious, and do not constitute any substantial improvement on existing patents.

Bloomberg reports that other corporations, such as DuPont and Procter & Gamble, fell on the side of Teleflex. Representatives from the drug and biotech industries stood in for an even larger number of companies.

Meanwhile, another Supreme Court judge has overturned a decision against Microsoft. AT&T charged that voice compression software, used by Microsoft in foreign copies of Windows, constituted an "infringing component" as defined by US patent law. Reuters notes that the earlier Appeals Court ruling was struck down by seven to one, with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg commenting that it "improperly extends United States patent law to foreign markets," even harming US companies by giving foreign businesses an edge.

by MacNN Staff




  1. Fast iBook

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I am....

    I am buying an iPhone, but based on how many people want one i doubt if i'll have one by the end of the summer. Comes in handy that i'm all ready with cingular. Half the people i know are switching carriers to get this phone. Mind you, that i know a LOT of people. If Ballmer can't see how huge iPhone really is, then msft truly is doomed (thank god).

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