May 01

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday loosened a legal test that many feel has resulted in a boom of obvious patents that have threatened the software industry.

Federal law states that a patent cannot be granted for an invention that a person of “ordinary skill” in the same field could have created.  But since many things become obvious in hindsight, in 1982 the Federal Court of Appeals added a legal test stating that “teaching, suggestion or motivation” must also exist that could lead an ordinary person to develop the invention.  This requires prior written documentation that is often difficult or impossible to find, and as a result, no obviousness case has ever been brought before the Supreme Court

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