Court Cases Threaten Weaker Patents - Forbes.com

Court Cases Threaten Weaker Patents - Forbes.com: "The Supreme Court on Monday delivered two decisions that experts say weaken the value of patents, fueling criticism that technological innovation, particularly in the biotech and pharmaceutical sectors, could be hindered.

In the more important of the two cases, the court made it simpler for companies to challenge patents on the grounds that they cover products that are obvious combinations of existing technologies. Under U.S. law, an invention must be new, useful and not obvious in order to merit a patent. The case involved Canada-based KSR International Inc. and Teleflex Inc., based in Limerick, Penn.

In the second case, the court curtailed the reach of U.S. patent laws overseas, ruling in favor of Microsoft Corp. in its dispute with AT&T Inc. over Microsoft's sale of Windows software outside the United States that allegedly infringed AT&T's patents. The decision will likely reduce damage awards in patent cases by excluding patent infringement overseas from consideration."