Obviousness 2010: A Tale of Two Cases, Michael J. Garvin, Esq.

In July of this year, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a jury verdict in favor of a patent infringement plaintiff, holding that the district court should have held the asserted patent obvious as a matter of law. Less than a month later, the Federal Circuit reversed a district court’s summary judgment ruling that a patent was obvious, holding that the issue needed to be resolved at trial. What caused the differences in the outcomes of these cases and what can they tell us about the state of the obviousness defense three years after the Supreme Court’s decision in KSR v. Teleflex, which seemingly made patents much more vulnerable to being invalidated on obviousness grounds?

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