Court Relaxes Patent Test

Tech companies applaud broader guidelines for "obviousness"
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2007 7:36 AM CDT
'   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Tech companies are thrilled with a Supreme Court ruling yesterday that relaxed the "obviousness" test for patents—the standard for deciding when a combination of existing elements deserves patent protection. No longer will Silicon Valley giants have to wrangle with patent "trolls"—people who anticipate minute improvements to products, then cry  infringement, CNET reports.

Critics say the court's nebulous decision will lead to a flurry of retroactive litigation which could "run into the trillions of dollars" in one attorney's estimate. Patent-reliant companies including GE and Johnson & Johnson are fans of the old test and say the ruling is a blow to protecting creativity.