Articles

OBVIOUSNESS
Obviousness is perhaps the most important issue of patent law. Patents are not to be granted or enforced if the alleged invention is obvious. The obviousness determination is central to decisions by the U.S. Patent Office on whether to grant a patent. The. U.S. Supreme Court established guidelines for determining obviousness in its landmark decision, KSR v. Teleflex.

WHEN TO FILE THAT PATENT APPLICATION
To ensure that inventors promptly file their patent applications, the U.S. patent law, (35 U.S.C. §102(b)) requires that a filing be made within one year of the date an invention is placed in public use or on sale in the U.S. Unfortunately, the judicial standards for an "on sale" bar can be difficult to apply and inventors may be uncertain as to their deadline for filing a patent application.

WHAT DOES THAT PATENT MEAN, LITERALLY?
The day after Memorial Day 2002 the U.S. Supreme Court killed the controversial patent standards announced by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC). The CAFC has almost exclusive appellate jurisdiction in patent matters. This article summarizes the larger issues resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court:

USPTO TAKES THE INITIATIVE FOR COMPUTER AND SOFTWARE PATENTS
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) took the unusual step of ordering on its own initiative, reexamination of a prominent software patent (the Eolas Patent No. 5,838,906). Microsoft, encouraged, reverses course.

PATENTING A LIVING ORGANISM

This landmark decision decides living organisms are patentable.

CLASSIC CASE - PUBLIC USE
Your invention is being used only by a close friend, a relative, or even just your spouse. Can this be a problem? See
what the US Supreme Court said in 1881.

PATENT OFFICE STRATEGIC PLAN
In a document entitled "The 21st Century Strategic Plan" the U.S. Patent and Trademark office ("PTO") proposed on July 5, 2002 a number of very important changes to the U.S. patent system. Some of the proposals met with opposition, but the Strategic Plan seems to have weathered well.