KSR International Co. v. Teleflex, Inc.: Throttling Back a Rigid Approach to Obviousness”

In its decision last week in KSR International Co. v. Teleflex, Inc., the Supreme Court reaffirmed its prior holdings that provide an accused infringer flexibility in seeking to invalidate a patent in a suit on the grounds of obviousness and reversed the lower court’s rigid application of one of the legal tests for determining whether a patent is obvious, commonly known as the teaching, suggestion, and motivation or “TSM” test.  Though some have suggested that the KSR decision signals the death knell for the patent system in the United States, a balanced analysis of the KSR decision makes clear that the reports of the patent system’s death have been greatly exaggerated.  This Stroock Special Bulletin discusses the KSR decision and its implications for the United States patent system.