Inventive step and non-obviousness
The inventive step and non-obviousness reflect a same general patentability requirement present in most patent laws, according to which an invention should be sufficiently inventive — i.e., non-obvious — in order to be patented.
The expression “inventive step” is predominantly used for instance in Germany, in the United Kingdom and under the European Patent Convention (EPC), while the expression “non-obviousness” is predominantly used in United States patent law. Although the basic principle is roughly the same, the assessment of the inventive step and non-obviousness varies from one country to another. For instance, the practice of the European Patent Office (EPO) differs from the practice in the United Kingdom.
NEW YORK – Eastman Kodak lost a ruling in a two-year legal fight against Apple and Research In Motion (RIM) over a patent for digital image-preview technology, a decision that may hurt the value of assets Kodak is selling.
RIM and Apple did not violate Kodak’s rights because the patent is invalid, United States International Trade Commission Judge Thomas Pender said in a notice posted on the agency’s website. Kodak said it will appeal the findings with the six-member commission in Washington, which has the power to block imports of products that infringe US patents.
Kodak, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January, contends Apple already owes it more than US$1 billion (S$1.27 billion) in damages for infringement of this and other digital capture patents, according to a bankruptcy court filing this month. Kodak has said a victory in the case may force RIM and Apple to pay for licensing and bolster the value of patent portfolios the company is seeking to sell.
“It adds another risk factor, or concern, for anybody who’s looking at the value of the IP portfolio, because Kodak is still looking to sell it,” said analyst Shannon Cross, who follows Apple and Kodak at Cross Research.
The company’s two digital patent portfolios may be its most valuable assets, reported Bloomberg. The patent in today’s ruling is part of a portfolio of more than 1,100 related to digital capture that Kodak is selling. The other collection covers imaging systems and services.
The judge’s recommendation “represents a preliminary step in a process that we are confident will conclude in Kodak’s favour”, Kodak’s chief intellectual property officer Timothy Lynch said in a statement. “Kodak has invested billions of dollars to develop its pioneering digital imaging technology, and we intend to protect these valuable assets.”
Together, the technology is valued at between US$2.21 billion to US$2.57 billion, based on an estimate by a patent advisory firm cited in a debtor’s motion it filed before a US bankruptcy court in January.
The disputed patent, which Kodak claims is used in all modern cameras, covers a feature that previews low-resolution versions of a moving image while recording still images at a high resolution. Higher resolution requires more processing power and storage space. Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics have already paid US$964 million in settlements to Kodak for using the technology.
Judge Pender said that the aspect of the patent that was in the case covered an obvious variation of earlier inventions. He did say that, were it valid, BlackBerry devices and the Apple iPhone 3G would infringe it, while the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 do not.
A different judge at the agency found the patent valid and infringed by Samsung, “whose products are similar to those offered by Apple and RIM,” Mr Lynch said. The US Patent and Trademark Office also took a second look at the patent and upheld it in December 2010, Kodak said.
The case looked only at older versions of BlackBerry phones, said Mr Tom Sanchez, vice president of licensing and standards, in charge of all aspects of patents at RIM. The company hasn’t seen the judge’s full determination. While pleased with the finding that there was no violation, RIM will ask the commission to review his finding of infringement, he said. AGENCIES
It just doesn’t make sense, “non-obviousness” is outdated because it gives the person who patent rights when he only contributes part of a patent, not the complete patent which will cause a stumbling block to those who can certify completeness, a stumbling block to innovation and technological advances. “Completeness” should be a better bet since it gives the person who register a patent the rights if he is able to explain his complete range of technologies and a working concept or “proof”, if he is not able to, then it will not be registered but place on “hold” until such time has passed where there is no challenges to his patent shall the judge seriously allow him to patent his rights, what a “joke”!
Let me explain my logic. If I want to patent “3D search engine with intelligent searches” I must produce “proof of concept” for the final product I intend to create, it is not possible to patent “3D search” because it is a design unless you copyright your design, if I am not able to provide a total “proof of concept” it can be registered but put on hold, until someone comes up with a “Total completeness” for the patent, it will be a time-based registration, when the time has lapsed and I am not able to finalised a “Total completeness” then it will be de-registered, to give a chance for others who have the capabilities to complete the product.
– Contributed by Oogle.