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June 28, 2006

What is "obvious" is obviously not obvious

One criticism that has long been leveled against software patents is that such patents are often granted on "trivial" inventions, i.e., inventions that are only a trifle different from existing technology. (Look here for one such argument.) The "nonobviousness" requirement of patent law is intended to prevent "trivial" patents from being granted. (For an article on the difficulty applying the nonobviousness standard to software, look here.)

The U.S. Supreme Court has just granted review in a case (KSR v. Teleflex) that will re-examine how the "nonobviousness" standard should be applied in patent cases. Although the case does not directly involve a software patent, a ruling that makes obviousness easier to prove could make "trivial" software patents more difficult to obtain. Stay tuned for further developments.

Posted by Robert at June 28, 2006 10:17 AM
category: Software Patents

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