It looks like they were on to something. Today’s WSJ has a story on the effects that KSR is already starting to have. Last week, a federal judge in San Francisco who previously had allowed a patent-infringement lawsuit to proceed against RealNetworks changed course and granted summary judgment, citing the KSR decision. The case is believed to be the first in which a trial-court judge has reversed his position and dismissed a case outright in the defendant’s favor, citing KSR.
RealNetworks was sued in 2003 by Friskit, a patent-licensing company based in San Francisco, over technology for organizing and playing video and audio files. The judge ruled that Friskit’s patent claims were nothing more than obvious combinations of elements publicly available, including RealNetworks’ own Internet products. Judge William Schwarzer concluded that “the idea of integrating these different components was not novel.”
“The Supreme Court has made it clear what it thinks,” the judge said at a hearing in the case. “Patents are being issued on obvious inventions, and it tightened the reins.” A lawyer for Friskit says the company is reviewing its options for appeal and was confident it could prevail.
Representing RealNetworks is Charles Verhoeven at Quinn Emanuel and Dave Stewart at Howrey (a former in-house lawyer at Real). Representing Friskit is William Robinson at Foley & Lardner and Scott Kaliko at Kaliko & Yeager. Click here for the judge’s ruling in Friskit v. RealNetworks, and here for a copy of the transcript of a court hearing on the issue."