US Patent Decision: KSR v Teleflex

The US Supreme Court issued its decision on Monday in KSR International Co. v. Teleflex Inc. , a case which is considered by many commentators to be a watershed decision in US patent law. 

KSR, a Canadian auto-parts company on contract to General Motors, designed a pedal with a sensor.  Rival autoparts maker, Teleflex Inc., demanded royalties on the basis that the KSR pedal infringed a Teleflex patent for a pedal equipped with an electronic sensor.  KSR refused to pay, asserting that the Teleflex patent was invalid since it had merely combined existing technologies in an obvious manner.

The court agreed with KSR, stating: “Granting patent protection to advances that would occur in the ordinary course without real innovation retards progress and may, in the case of patents combining previously known elements, deprive prior inventions of their value or utility.”

The practical impact of this decision is that many patents will now be open to challenge on obviousness grounds.  Inventions that introduce truly innovative concepts and elements will be more valuable than those which merely combine existing technologies in a new way.


Calgary – 09:35 MST


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  1. […] We wrote about the US Supreme Court decision in KSR International Co. v. Teleflex Inc. in our earlier post. The USPTO has just released Examination Guidelines to aid examiners in determining obviousness in the wake of the KS decision. […]

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