John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

And to Your Left Is the Pride of Our Breeding and Research Center, the Golden-Rumped Patent Troll

Looks like it may be time to add the patent troll to the IUCN’s threatened species list. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday took a stand against America’s undisciplined proliferation of intellectual property, making it easier to challenge patents of questionable quality. Ruling unanimously in an obscure dispute between KSR International and Teleflex over vehicle gas-pedal designs, the court set a higher threshold for obtaining patent protection and sent a clear signal that it feels overbroad patent rights have hamstrung innovation.

“Granting patent protection to advances that would occur in the ordinary course without real innovation retards progress and may, in the case of patents combining previously known elements, deprive prior inventions of their value or utility,” the court wrote in a majority opinion (PDF) penned by Justice Anthony Kennedy. A commonsense standard like the one to which Kennedy refers will undoubtedly have a broad impact on the technology industry. “Today the Supreme Court injected some much-needed common sense into the world of patents,” said Morgan Reed, executive director of the Association for Competitive Technology. “The KSR decision in particular will make it much harder to obtain and enforce the kind of absurd software patents that are threatening the future of the patent system.”