Saturday, June 16, 2007

The KSR Decision: Rich Resource

For those of you interested in exploring the momentous KSR v. Teleflex decision of the US Supreme Court, an extremely valuable resource is the KSR Litigation Papers page prepared by Fried Frank, the firm that represented KSR. The decision was a big victory for KSR, but was it a victory for patent law? By clarifying and lowering the standards for obviousness rejections, there is a risk that patents will be harder to obtain and enforce, and that property rights will suffer.

Supporters of the KSR decision claim that too much obvious trash was being allowed and cluttering the system. My take is that the problem with poor quality patents was not due to poor standards in the area of obviousness, but to poor execution by the US Patent and Trademark Office, which in turn is due to Congressional malfeasance in looting the funds that the PTO receives as an inherent tax on innovation. When patent examiners only 16-20 hours total per case, there isn't time for thorough searches. If Congress would keep their hands of the PTO budget, we'd be a lot better off.

No comments: