Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months, the KSR case pending before the Supreme Court has probably come across your radar screen several times. The recent oral arguments before the Court in KSR left many observers thinking that a change in the obviousness standard is on its way. In anticipation of a possible new standard for obviousness, Judge Farnan granted a five-month stay of the validity trial in Power Integrations Inc. v. Fairchild Semiconductor Int’l Inc., C.A. No. 04-1371-JJF, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87259 (D. Del. Nov. 30, 2006). Judge Farnan also ruled that if the Supreme Court has not issued a decision within five months, then the trial will go forward using modified jury interrogatories and/or instructions, as well as other appropriate measures intended to minimize any post-trial or appellate impact of the Supreme Court’s decision in KSR on the issues in this case.
It remains to be seen if other judges, in this district or other districts, will follow suit. (If you hear of other judges following suit in other jurisdictions, please let us know.) I seem to remember some similar rulings when the Phillips claim construction case was before the Federal Circuit. Interestingly, the Federal Circuit has had no problem issuing opinions refining their view of obviousness while the Supreme Court decides KSR!
Power Integrations Inc. v. Fairchild Semiconductor Int’l Inc., C.A. No. 04-1371-JJF, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87259 (D. Del. Nov. 30, 2006).