Paralegal's Commentary on Court's Patent Ruling

Yeah, this news is about an important ruling by the Supremes, but it's also very nice to see an experienced paralegal being quoted:

"When the Supreme Court of the United States ruled for KSR in the case of KSR Int'l Co. v. Teleflex Inc. [link added], it also served notice to the software industry that major changes may be afoot in both the granting and protecting of existing software patents.

"For several years now, software patents have frequently been seen by many as stifling innovation, granting intellectual property claims for ideas that had been around for decades and awarding the companies that hold them hundreds of millions of dollars—such as in RIM vs. NTP—even when the patents themselves have been rejected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

"Now, as Pamela Jones, editor of the intellectual property law news site Groklaw, noted, 'The standout paragraph' in the decision written by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy read:

    'We build and create by bringing to the tangible and palpable reality around us new works based on instinct, simple logic, ordinary inferences, extraordinary ideas, and sometimes even genius. These advances, once part of our shared knowledge, define a new threshold from which innovation starts once more. And as progress beginning from higher levels of achievement is expected in the normal course, the results of ordinary innovation are not the subject of exclusive rights under the patent laws. Were it otherwise patents might stifle, rather than promote, the progress of useful arts.'

"Jones, a paralegal, observed, 'The court has raised the obviousness bar, or as they probably view it put it back where the founding fathers meant it to be.'"

"Patently Obvious?"

Another excellent post to Legal Blog Watch by lawyer & blogger Robert J. Ambrogi [links listed below from original post]:

"Tons of reaction among bloggers to yesterday's Supreme Court ruling in KSR v. Teleflex. Rather than attempt to summarize it all, I offer these samples.

You can find more links to articles about this bombshell opinion in the complete post. Happy reading, all you patent paralegals!

New book about the Supremes

Jeffrey Rosen, author of "The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries That Defined America," made a funny appearance on The Daily Show tonight:

His book also sounded very funny. Of course, that could have mostly been Jon Stewart....

"In this compelling work of character-driven history, Jeffrey Rosen recounts the history of the Court through the personal and philosophical rivalries on the bench that transformed the law — and by extension, our lives. The story begins with the great Chief Justice John Marshall and President Thomas Jefferson, cousins from the Virginia elite whose differing visions of America set the tone for the Court's first hundred years. The tale continues after the Civil War with Justices John Marshall Harlan and Oliver Wendell Holmes, who clashed over the limits of majority rule. Rosen then examines the Warren Court era through the lens of the liberal icons Hugo Black and William O. Douglas, for whom personality loomed larger than ideology. He concludes with a pairing from our own era, the conservatives William H. Rehnquist and Antonin Scalia, only one of whom was able to build majorities in support of his views." [Publisher's description]

O'Connor still hard at work

This Newsweek article explains why & how Sandra Day O'Connor has been busy since she left the Court:


"After her surprise announcement in July 2005 that she was leaving the court, O'Connor seemed likely to follow most of her former colleagues into a quiet private life. But America's first female justice is blazing a new path in retirement, too. At 76, O'Connor is still physically and mentally fit. Her current schedule—packed with appeals-court hearings, law-school lectures, speechmaking and book writing—can make her days on the court look practically languorous. And these commitments don't include her recent work with the Iraq Study Group (or her aerobics classes). She divides her time between Washington, where she maintains her chambers, and Phoenix, where she cares for her husband, John, who suffers from Alzheimer's. "She just put it in third gear and went on," says her brother, H. Alan Day.


"Because O'Connor chose to retire rather than resign, she's still considered an active judge and draws a salary. So she has responsibilities as an officer of the court to fill in as a judge on appeals courts—a task that requires copious preparation. Even the most mundane duties of judgeship do not escape her: last month she spent two days swearing in public officials in Arizona. Being a judge also means O'Connor can't cash in on any of the speeches or public appearances she makes. That would change if she resigned. But then, she wouldn't have an office at the court. Maybe then she would be a nobody. 'I'd be on my own,' she says. 'I have chosen a different route.'"

"PBS Series Spotlights the Supreme Court's Past & Present"

History, drama, games, timelines, personalities...did I mention games? What's not to like?

"At the rare times the Supreme Court pops into the consciousness of the public, it is usually because of a vexing case or, more recently, a personnel change or two. Rarely is there a chance to step back and look at the Court's history or its evolving role in the life of the nation.

"PBS makes a vitally important effort to do just that in a four-part documentary, The Supreme Court, which begins airing this week. It is a must-see series that takes the viewer back to the pitifully weak early days of the Court, then all the way forward to its current incarnation as a center-of-the-universe powerhouse. It perfectly tees up the current air of anticipation over just how conservative the new Roberts Court is -- or will be, with another vacancy or two."

It airs January 31 & February 7, 2007 @ 9 pm EST. Be sure to check your local listings.

"Ginsburg Feels Isolated on Court"

Yeah, I get this. But do you think Harriet Myers would have made a difference?

"BOSTON -- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Friday that she dislikes being 'all alone on the court' nearly a year after the retirement of Sandra Day O'Connor.

"Ginsburg, who spoke to an assembly at Suffolk University Law School, said she sees more women in law school, arguing before the court and sitting as federal judges."

"Supreme Court Pushes Back on Televised Proceedings"

Bad news! It would be great fun to watch the Supremes in action:

"Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy pushed back strongly Tuesday against a bill pending in the Senate that would require the Court to televise its proceedings.

"'Mandating direct televised proceedings would be inconsistent with the deference and etiquette that should apply between the branches,' Kennedy said in response to questions from House members at the Court's annual budget hearing Tuesday. 'We feel very strongly that this matter should be left to the courts.'"