In 2011, the Supreme Court will hear argument, and make a decision in Microsoft v. i4i about:
Whether the invalidity defense provided for in the Patent Act, 35 U.S.C. § 28[sic], must be proved by clear and convincing evidence.
That much you probably already know, but if you didn’t already, then check out Dennis Crouch’s comprehensive overview of the case, Gary, the Patent Hawk, Odom’s amusing editorial, or Peter Zura’s succinct summary. Crouch’s post mentions an earlier study which he points to as suggesting that “lowering the burden of proof would not have made any difference for 74%” of cases. Patent owners may be mislead by this statistic into thinking that this case won’t have a significant impact on patent value, but they would be wrong.