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Supreme Court to Rule On 'Obvious' Patents 239

vocaro writes "The U.S. Supreme Court appears ready to rewrite the standard of what makes a patent 'obvious.' In a case before the court, brake manufacturer Teleflex is accusing a rival, KSR International, of violating its patent on a brake assembly. Large patent holders, including Microsoft, IBM, and Cisco, have submitted briefs supporting KSR, saying that true innovators can have a patent held up against them that reflects nothing more than an obvious combination of preexisting elements, then be told they have to leave the market or pay royalties. The court appears to be on KSR's side, saying that Teleflex's invention would have been obvious to an individual of reasonable skill. During oral arguments, Justice Breyer observed, 'It looks to me at about the same level as I have a sensor on my garage door at the lower hinge ... and the raccoons are eating it. So I think of the brainstorm of putting it on the upper hinge.'"

We all agree on the necessity of compromise. We just can't agree on when it's necessary to compromise. -- Larry Wall