The following is excerpted from an article by Bruce D. Sunstein, from Sunstein's September 2010 IP Update:
On September 1, the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued updated guidelines for use by patent examiners in determining when the subject matter claimed in a patent application should be rejected for being obvious.
The updated guidelines differ from the original guidelines, issued in 2007 in one major respect: They acknowledge that not all inventions are obvious. The original guidelines, occupying nine densely worded pages of the Federal Register, discuss not a single example of an invention that surmounts the obviousness hurdle.
The original guidelines were triggered by the decision of the Supreme Court in KSR v. Teleflex, which, as we reported in 2007, made it easier to reject patent applications and to invalidate issued patents for obviousness. The updated guidelines reflect developments in the law since KSR v. Teleflex.
Read the full article here.