U.S. Supreme Court issues patent system ruling

This is not a giant leap forward but it’s at least progress. From an article on CNET that I was pointed to by Harold on the PICList. On Monday the court ruled unanimously to change the rules set by the patent appeals court for determining patent validity. IBM’s assistant general counsel for intellectual property law, David Kappos said:

“What we have had is an era of extreme uncertainty caused by the issuance of many trivial and marginal patents under the old test,” he said in a telephone interview. “What we’re going to see now is actually more certainty because those trivial and marginal patents aren’t going to get issued.”

Anything that will help stop bogus patents is a good thing. I’m certain this ruling won’t be even close to a complete cure for the problems of the U.S. patent system but it’s a start. Ed Black, president of the Computer and Communications Industry Association commented:

“This may make the holders of some lousy patents a little less interested in going the litigation route because it may well be they realize that their chances of winning are lower”

But qualified this with:

“I have to mitigate that comment unfortunately a little bit by saying that an awful lot of litigation goes on here that isn’t expected to go to trial; it’s for extortion purposes.”