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.