So, What Does Chief Justice Roberts "Really" Think of the U.S. Patent Office?

by Lee Gesmer on January 18, 2008

Question by C. J. Roberts at oral argument in Quanta v. LG, earlier this week:

we’ve had experience with the Patent Office where it tends to grant patents a lot more liberally than we would enforce under the patent law. (Transcript, p. 49, January 16, 2008).

The issue in Quanta is whether the licensed sale of components used in a patented invention exhausts the patent owner’s patent rights. The comment by Chief Justice Roberts was a reference to the Supreme Court’s decision in KSR Int’l v. Teleflex, Inc., which has been widely understood to have made it more difficult to obtain new patents and defend existing patents.

The Patent Office has been widely criticized for issuing unworthy patents. Do you think anyone there is paying attention?

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