ciaran_o_riordan writes: Anyone who feels that patent quality is just far too high nowadays
will be glad to hear that the USPTO has decided to ditch four of their
seven tests for obviousness. Whereas
guidelines said that an idea is considered obvious if it consisted of
"[predictable] variations [...] based on design incentives or other
market forces" or if there was "Use of a known technique [prior art]
to improve similar devices (methods, or products) in the same way",
guidelines do away with those tests. The classic
"teaching-suggestion-motivation" test is still there, with two others. For
software developers, silly patents
the main problem, but they certainly aggravate the matter. As
described in one patent
lawyer's summary, this change will "give applicants greater
opportunities to obtain allowance of claims."
ciaran_o_riordan writes: A month after the Supreme court rejected Bilski, the USPTO published updated Interim Guidance (pdf) and called for comment. Bilski wasn't as wide-reaching a ruling as most parties thought it would be, so a certain amount of textual digging is needed to find the aspects that can help us reduce software patenting at the USPTO and in future court cases. The End Software Patents campaign sent some such comments. FSF also published a call for participation and got cc'd on over 450 responses. When these comments are published on uspto.gov, and when the USPTO publishes its revised guidelines, we'll have a conservative idea of what effects Bilski will have.