Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Washington Post slams patent attorneys

Under a title Patent Law Comes Back to Earth, the Washington Post states:

For years now, patent law has been a case study in what happens when a specialized bar and specialized magistrates get hold of an area of economic activity: Common sense gives way to precedent, and public interest gives way to private.

Now the Supreme Court has stepped in to restore patent law to its original purpose: rewarding and encouraging innovation, not stifling it. The unanimous decision will make it harder to obtain and defend patents for obvious "innovations" such as combining two medicines into a single pill or creating a "send me a confirmation" button on an Internet sales site. It overturns decades of precedents that any reasonable person -- but apparently not a patent lawyer or judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit -- would have known had outlived their usefulness.

The argument is often made that these areas have become so complex and technical that they can be handled by only specialists. Perhaps the reason they become so complex and technical is that they have been left to people who do little else.

IPBiz notes that the Supreme Court relied heavily on the arguments of the IT community in fashioning its decision. It is not clear that the decision overturned the TSM test or decades of precedents. Things don't look good for In re Deuel, a biotech case.


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