SCOTUS Tackles the “Obvious” Question

By Deane Barker on November 27, 2006

Supreme Court to examine ‘obviousness’ of patents: This Supreme Court case could have huge effects on intellectual property in general. The defendant is arguing that the patent in dispute is too obvious to be defendable. This could be huge for Internet-based patents (the “one click” debacle, anyone?)

The case has its roots in an obscure patent spat about vehicle gas pedal designs involving two companies without mainstream name recognition: the Canadian company KSR International and Limerick, Penn.-based Teleflex. (Teleflex had sued KSR for infringement of its patent on a gas pedal design that KSR contends is no more than an obvious melding of two existing inventions.)

But the facts of the case are far less important than the potential ripple effects of the high court’s eventual ruling.