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Journal Journal: Google presents: Google Patent Search

Google has released a new tool that allows people to search the full text of patent applications. As is the case with most Google tools, this is in "beta", and can be found at http://www.google.com/patents. A Wired blog points out that the most recent entries date to mid-2006, but the available applications go back about 200 years.

Patents

SCOTUS Set To Examine Combinatory Patents 116

eldavojohn writes "The Washington Post is reporting that businesses are split on the current situation with patents in the United States. From the article: 'The court is scheduled to hear arguments Tuesday on what's obvious when older inventions are combined to create something new. The law says an invention that's "obvious" isn't patentable, but the definition isn't clear despite decades of litigation. The ambiguity, critics say, has led to an explosion of patents as companies stake claims on everything in sight, from strategies for avoiding taxes to golf ball designs. The result has been extensive and costly legal wrangling as companies of all sizes fight over who's infringing what. In some cases, small companies acquire patents not to develop new products but to sue for a quick windfall.' This sounds like some common criticism of the patent system that often pops up on Slashdot. The last part of the article mentions that most legal experts are expecting some changes to come of this. Hopefully soon we'll see some changes to the patent system for a better concept of intellectual property."

Patent Law Ruling Threatens FOSS 244

savio13 writes "The EFF has asked the US Supreme Court to overturn a patent law ruling that could pose a serious threat to Free and Open Source Software projects. A recent Federal Circuit Court of Appeals decision required that even the most obvious incremental advances can be patented unless it can be proved that someone else suggested it prior to the patent being filed. As such, many 'bad patents' are being used as roadblocks for legitimate innovators, especially those working for FOSS projects (who have better things to do then search through thousands of technical papers for some mention of the obvious). The full brief is available online in PDF format."

USPTO Rules Fogent JPEG Patent Invalid 240

fistfullast33l writes "Groklaw has reported that the USPTO has ruled the broadest claims of the JPEG Patent held by Fogent to be invalid. PUBPAT, the organization that requested the review, released the news earlier today. According to PJ, the ruling will be hard to overturn as the 'submitters knew about the prior art but failed to tell the USPTO about it.'"

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