Firstly, it’s unexpected because one of recipients of said cheering is Microsoft. Yes, I’m actually glad that they won a court case, because the case in question was about not being able to enforce patents approved in the US in the rest of the world. Given the utter shambles that the US patent system is in, I’m particularly glad that I can’t be sued for having a revolutionary idea such as wearing my underwear inside out to save on laundry bills. No, I haven’t checked, but I’m nevertheless absolutely certain that a US patent troll has already got dibs on that one. Probably with a sister patent that involves shoehorning in web, wi-fi and social networking extensions to the idea, just to cover all the bases. After all, they wouldn’t want anyone else running off and implementing ‘Inside Out Wireless Boxer Space’ and stealing their valuable IP.
Shenanigans aside, it’s good news because it means that US companies who have exploited their woefully flawed local patent system can’t export that rampant stupidity to the rest of the world. I like to think of it as an ‘Idiocy Containment Field’, which after coming online with a triumphant hum, sees two-bit lawyers and “IP enabling companies” bouncing off the inside of it, screaming with impotent rage. I’d just like to take a deep breath and savour that thought for a moment. Ahhhh.
Secondly, it’s unexpected because the courts have now effectively raised the bar for what it considered innovation, and is proposing that rational, industry vetted common sense should govern what is considered patent worthy or not. Frankly, I’m stunned - I didn’t think anyone above a certain level of authority had the nouse to grasp that particular concept - that experts in the subject field might be the best ones to judge whether something was innovative, and not those with vested interests in getting volumes of patents approved such as the patent office, IP lawyers and certain industry lobbyists. Startling revelations abound.
Here’s hoping this is another positive step on the road to ridding the world of ridiculous patents.