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Test for "Obvious" Patents Questioned 172

bulled writes "News.com is running a story about a case coming before the US Supreme Court on testing new patents for 'obviousness'. The decision has potential to significantly impact the High Tech industry." From the article: "Several Silicon Valley heavyweights, including Intel and Cisco Systems, have submitted supporting briefs that urge the Supreme Court to revise an earlier ruling. That ruling, they claim, has helped make it easier to obtain patents on seemingly 'obvious' combinations of pre-existing inventions."
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Test for "Obvious" Patents Questioned

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  • by almost entirely lega ( 1029988 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:24AM (#17013268) Homepage
    http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=116463689942 5 [law.com] is the law.com/Legal Times article on KSR International v. Teleflex, which will be argued before the Supreme Court today. As the article points out, depending upon how wide ranging a decision the Court issues, this case has implications for millions of patents, many of which have been considered unassailable, having stood up to years of attacks.
  • by Kattspya ( 994189 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @08:06AM (#17014524)
    Here's a link to a study that supports the OP: http://www.dklevine.com/general/intellectual/again st.htm [dklevine.com] (PDF-warning)
  • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @10:08AM (#17015614) Homepage Journal

    Let's pretend you're talking about inventive rather than innovative, because I suspect that's what you meant (most people do), and "He didn't actually invent it, but he was the person who first packaged it in a form that got it into people's hands" doesn't strike me as something anyone has said patents should be granted for. Patents are supposed to go to the first person to invent something and take it to the patent office, not the first person to make it popular.

    I'm not really sure anything in CP/M qualifies as massively inventive. Kildall's CP/M became popular not because it was inventive, but because it was there. It was a simple program loader with a very small library accessable to loaded applications. Many of the fundamentals in CP/M went back to libraries that came with the Intel test rig he was programming.

    Yes, many aspects of it were copied into QD-OS (better known today as MSDOS), but these were compatibility hacks rather than functionality. Things like "System call 5 writes a character to the console" (or something, I forget which call did that.) FAT was copied too, but FAT is, frankly, obvious. I'm not sure how many other operating systems prior to CP/M used the same concepts, my guess would be many, but the Unix system we know and love isn't that different - the major difference is that the filenames appear FAT's equivalent of iNodes, rather than in dedicated directory files.

    Kildall would probably have disagreed with you anyway. The guy was a programmer through and through. Despite all the anecdotes, the major reason IBM didn't have CP/M86 for the PC was because Kildall wasn't that interested in it as a project. Had he been so, it would have been released a year or two prior, and Seattle Computing's QD-OS wouldn't have been written because the need for it would have been absent. If he'd been interested, when the IBM people knocked on his door, they'd have been treated as any other OEM, rather than a group needing an entirely new product.

    Kildall was interested in the things he was working on, much more so than maximising the money he got and controlling the market. Short of doing so defensively, as you would today, I doubt he'd have patented anything, even if something as obvious and derivative as CP/M had been patentable.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:21AM (#17016682)
    >There is actually little to no real evidence of patents being beneficial to the economical system. For any technological discipline.


    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&lr=&q=pate nt+%22economic+growth%22&as_ylo=2005&as_yhi=2006&b tnG=Search [google.com]

e-credibility: the non-guaranteeable likelihood that the electronic data you're seeing is genuine rather than somebody's made-up crap. - Karl Lehenbauer