Thursday, March 04, 2010

Patently Off Topic

To remind my faithful (and often retired) readers that I am still here and still looking out for their best interests, I offer this off topic post. Basically, it is a link to the blog post by Gary Odom on Patent Prospector. In the post, Odom dissects a Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decision involving the patentability of baseball cards that incorporate a small piece of "game worn" jersey. Cool idea, but was it obvious? If so, the Patent and Trademark Office never should have granted a patent on it.

Patent law is interesting to me and it is made doubly so because the patent bar and the customs bar share the same appellate body--the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Customs and trade cases only make up about 5% of the Court's docket. The majority of the remainder is patent appeals. On those occasions I when I have argued at the Federal Circuit, I invariably seem to be at the end of the session after two patent cases (or a patent case and a federal merit selection case). Recently, it was put to me by someone who should know that Federal Circuit jurisprudence in customs classification cases has been impacted by the patent work that takes up so much of the Court's time and effort. I gather that relates to the fact that reading the claims of a patent might be similar to piecing together a classification based on the various General Rules of Interpretation, legal notes, and heading language. But, I am not certain I see the connection.

Anyway, the Patent Prospector post is worth reading. Also, the comments are quite full of interesting opinions.

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