Supreme Court Rules on Two Patent Cases

In two patent decisions today, the U.S. Supreme Court made it easier to challenge patents on new products and declined to extend U.S. anti-infringement standards abroad.

In one case, the high court said the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit had applied an overinclusive test in determining whether a patent for an adjustable gas pedal is too obvious to be upheld, reports Bloomberg. Its opinion in KSR v. Teleflex, No. 04-1350, remands the case back to the appellate court for further proceedings.

In the other ruling, the Supreme Court overruled the appellate court and found that Microsoft Corp.’s admitted infringement on an AT&T patent in its Windows operating system here in the U.S. did not extend to computers abroad. That’s because Microsoft didn’t export this Windows version from the U.S., and so American patent law doesn’t apply, explains the AP.

“The presumption that United States law governs domestically but does not rule the world applies with particular force in patent law,” wrote Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the majority’s opinion in Microsoft v. AT&T, No. 05-1056.

The text of the opinions is provided on the Supreme Court Web site.

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