Wednesday, October 18, 2006

How obvious is too obvious?

Over at Ratio Juris, I've posted a brief preview of KSR International Co. vs. Teleflex Inc., the Supreme Court's first case in a generation on "obviousness" under 35 U.S.C. § 103(a). Herewith a brief note on the controversy's significance to the biotechnology industry, courtesy of ScienceNOW Daily News:
The issue is important to scientists because biotech inventions, among other technical innovations, usually rest upon novel combinations of existing elements, such as a known antibody and a known protein target. PTO examiners make the first call on the obviousness of such technologies, followed by courts. Both groups must examine the science and technology at the time of a patent. Decades of court rulings have instructed the PTO to look in the public record for a clear indication of whether a particular invention might have been suggested. If the office can't find such an example, the invention is ruled sufficiently nonobvious.

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