The House of Lords has recently passed down a decision that will help UK patent owners. The case has given guidelines on the test for obviousness when the validity of a patent is being attacked.
A quick recap: in the UK something is patentable if it is novel, has an inventive step (ie it is not obvious), is capable of industrial application and is not excluded by law (ie discoveries or games)
In nearly all claims of patent (or other intellectual property for that matter) infringement the defendant will always counter claim with an attack on the validity of a patent. There argument will be that the patent is not new because of the following prior art and that the in any case the patent is obvious and therefore should not have been granted in the first place.
The case in question should mean that it is more difficult to attack a patent on grounds of obviousness which is good news for patent owners. Of course if there is prior art that anticipates the patent then validity will still be attacked.
This is good news as many commentators were questioning the value of patents because they are always attacked in counterclaims.
Any patent litigation is still very expensive.
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