Patent Filings Down

from the good-news dept

Patently-O has received some data on recent patent filings showing that they continue to trend downward. The post blames the economic crisis, though it admits that other factors (such as the courts restricting the most egregious problems with the patent system, as well as the Patent Office itself increasing quality standards) may have had an impact as well. What I find odd, though, is the claim in the post that this downward trend in patents is a "crisis." The complaint is that since the USPTO is funded by application fees, seeing a drop makes it more difficult to fund the USPTO. But, that leaves out the simple fact that if you're receiving fewer applications, then the Patent Office shouldn't need as many resources either. Considering the large number of bad patents that got through over the years, and the resulting flood of applications from others hoping to strike it rich by gaining monopolies on obvious ideas, it should be seen as a good thing that applications are finally dropping. If anything, we should be wondering why they're not dropping more. Patents were supposed to be given out in the rarest of circumstances, when other incentives weren't enough. Somewhere along the way, those who controlled the patent system seemed to forget this and lose their way. Bringing back a sense of sanity to the system can only be a good thing for those who want to encourage innovation (those who make money off of the patent system, obviously, tend to have a different opinion -- but I'd rather focus on encouraging innovation, rather than encouraging patent attorneys making exorbitant salaries).


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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2009 @ 8:28pm

    Perhaps it was all planned!

    If Texas succeeds from the union, does that mean East Texas Patent Litigation could go with it?

     

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      German Socialist Worker Grammar Party, Apr 16th, 2009 @ 8:46pm

      Re: Perhaps it was all planned!

      It's secede.

       

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        German Socialist Anonomous Home Brewers Lager Drin, Apr 16th, 2009 @ 9:29pm

        Re: Re: Perhaps it was all planned!

        Thanks! I didn't think it looked right, but I was too lazy to verify spelling past a google search.

        Poor Google.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2009 @ 9:00pm

      Re: Perhaps it was all planned!

      Lets try to find out ... I don't think we'd fight to try to keep texas

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2009 @ 9:43pm

        Re: Re: Perhaps it was all planned!

        No doubt.

        Say, what do you think they would print on their money? GW Bush? Mark Cuban? A six pack of beer and a BBQ grill?

        Almost makes me want to go to Worth1000 and suggest a photoshop contest.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2009 @ 8:41pm

    Patents were supposed to be given out in the rarest of circumstances, when other incentives weren't enough.

    And your citation for this tidbit of history is...?

     

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      Mike (profile), Apr 16th, 2009 @ 10:39pm

      Re:

      And your citation for this tidbit of history is...?

      Monoplies tho' in certain cases useful ought to be granted with caution, and guarded with strictness agst abuse. The Constitution of the U. S. has limited them to two cases, the authors of Books, and of useful inventions, in both which they are considered as a compensation for a benefit actually gained to the community as a purchase of property which the owner might otherwise withold from public use. There can be no just objection to a temporary monopoly in these cases: but it ought to be temporary, because under that limitation a sufficient recompence and encouragement may be given. The limitation is particularly proper in the case of inventions, because they grow so much out of preceding ones that there is the less merit in the authors: and because for the same reason, the discovery might be expected in a short time from other hands.

      Monopolies have been granted in other Countries, and by some of the States in this, on another principle, that of supporting some useful undertaking until1 experience and success should render the monopoly unnecessary, & lead to a salutary competition. . . . But grants of this sort can be justified in very peculiar cases only, if at all; the danger being very great that the good resulting from the operation of the monopoly, will be overbalanced by the evil effect of the precedent; and it being not impossible that the monopoly itself, in its original operation, may produce more evil than good.

      In all cases of monopoly, not excepting those specified in favor of authors & inventors, it would be well to reserve to the State, a right to terminate the monopoly by paying a specified and reasonable sum [to the holder.] This would guard against the public discontents resulting from the exorbitant gains of individuals, and from the inconvenient restrictions combined with them. -- James Madison

      And lots of other history as well... There was great concern among many of the founding fathers. They allowed them, but warned that we needed to be vigilant, and they should only be granted in specific cases.

      You know this. We've discussed this quote before. Acting ignorant is an odd choice for someone who presents himself as a patent expert.

       

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        Frosty840, Apr 16th, 2009 @ 11:28pm

        Re: Re:

        An anonymous patent expert...

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2009 @ 8:36am

        Re: Re:

        I am pleased to note that you have read Madison's "Detached Memorandum". However, I do not distill from it the core principle you describe in your article.

        Monopolies as practiced by the British Monarchy were certainly on the mind of those establishing the basic laws for our nation, and their deep suspicion of them is certainly well understood by all who have studied the history associated with the enactment of the Articles of Confederation and the U.S. Constitution.

        Madison's memorandum clearly reflects a deep distrust of government granted monopolies, as well it should. He did, however, draw a distinction, albeit it with qualifications, in the area of authors and inventors. His concern, as well it should have been, was that the latter should be limited in time, a concept embraced in the "limited times" provision of the legislative powers conferred to Congress by Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8.

        As I have stated before, in the case of patent law the concept of limited times has largely remained intact since the enactment of the Patent Act of 1790. The same could to a lesser degree have been said of the Copyright Act of 1790, but only until the time that the "Mr. 'The Beat Goes On'" met his fate on a ski slope. From that point forward only the most diehard copyright supporter would assert that the fundamental "limited times" principle was being observed.

        In the case of Eldred v. Ashcroft the plaintiffs made a very fundamental mistake. The Supreme Court has been quite clear over many years that its review of legislation as involved in Eldred would be examinied using a relaxed standard under which the Supreme Court deems it outside of the court's charter to substitute it judgement from that of Congress. It is, except in a very few matters involving fundamental rights under the Constitution, outside of its charter to impose its will over that of our duly elected representaives in the House and Senate. Just like in Tenenbaum now before a court in Boston, the decision of what is and what is not public policy is not the role of the court.

        Merely as an aside, I do not recall our ever having discussed Mr. Madison's memorandum. Our discussions have involved the continuing references to text contained in a letter penned by Thomas Jefferson to one whith whom he was corresponding about a specific patent.

        Madison's memorandum is much more telling as it relates to many of the positions taken by you in your articles. Frankly, I find it to be a much more thoughtful and informative discourse on this subject area. For example, his last sentence in his first paragraph does merit thoughful consideration by those who subscribe to the notion that "it have soon been invented anyway".

        Try to keep in mind my prior observations that one of the core priciples underlying the enactment of patent and copyright laws to to actively encourage the rapid dissemination of information to the populous at large. It was not about disclosing "blockbusters", but about the encouragement of potentially useful information the the public. What gets last in all the rhetoric where patent law is concerned is that disclosure was viewed as being quite important. If disclosure is not living up to the purpose for which it was originally embraced, then it seems to me an entirely reasonable approach is to give it very high emphasis in the examination of applications for Letters Patent, and to not fall prey to the argument that because some applications may not reflect this very important requirement the law is hopelessly broken and needs to either be eliminated or re-drafted starting with a clean sheet of paper.

        I am hardly acting ignorant as you so "eloquently" state, and am unsure how I should react. In this case I will extend to you the benefit of the doubt. Please, however, refrain in the future from using such pejorative words. Such use does nothing to promote thoughtful discourse on very important subjects.

         

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      Bettawrekonize, May 3rd, 2009 @ 8:14am

      Re:

      [quote]
      [quote]
      Patents were supposed to be given out in the rarest of circumstances, when other incentives weren't enough.
      [/quote]
      And your citation for this tidbit of history is...?
      [/quote]

      Give me a break, someone has a patent on swinging sideways. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn2178-boy-takes-swing-at-us-patents.html. So many other patents are absolutely ridiculous yet people like you would try and defend them like they are reasonable. Yeah right.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2009 @ 8:47pm

    "What I find odd, though, is the claim in the post that this downward trend in patents is a "crisis.""

    Misleading and taken out of context. The author is referring to a drop in the total number of application filings while there remains in the USPTO a large number of applications at various stages of the prosecution process. Since funding for the USPTO is derived in major part by filing fees and maintenance fees (which are also dropping), the reduction in revenue is placing a financial squeeze on the USPTO.

     

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      Frosty840, Apr 16th, 2009 @ 11:35pm

      Re:

      One suspects that if patent application fees pay for the staff who oversee those applications, then this situation could more accurately be described as a natural downturn in the market in response to a dip in demand, followed by a series of job cuts in response to that dip.
      Not so much a "crisis" as "completely normal market behaviour", and I hardly think that the fact that it was pointed out *in context* ("The complaint is that since the USPTO is funded by application fees, seeing a drop makes it more difficult to fund the USPTO.") that labelling such as a "crisis" is unrealistic is either misleading or out of context.

       

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    LBD, Apr 16th, 2009 @ 9:16pm

    Angry dude

    Cue Angry Dude's honestly nonsensical 12 year old rants that are honestly nothing more then pathetic attempts at trolling now.

     

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    Adam Wasserman (profile), Apr 16th, 2009 @ 10:06pm

    The way I remember it...

    was that in about 1996 the patent office was begging and beseeching for more (and qualified) staff to deal with the onslaught of software patents. When they were denied, they seemed (to me) to adopt the attitude of "what the hell - we'll approve 'em all. Let God sort em out."

     

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    Inventor, Apr 17th, 2009 @ 3:13am

    There is no professional memory at the USPTO

    We struggle all the time dealing with crazy patents granted for technology that has existed for years. Then there is the issue with minor design patents around existing technology. We have to design our stuff around these stupid patents & in turn file our own stupid patents. Unless we have existing artwork, our legal department will not fight a patent no matter how obviously bad they are & in turn will defend our granted patents to the death.

    In questioning why these patents get granted, one of our lawyers claims that the attorneys at the patent office are all temporary, never working there for more than three years before moving into the private sector. There is no professional memory there if everyone is new. No incentive to limit the granting of patents when the decision makers are going to be on the other side of the game in a short time.

    Just making the positions lifetime careers by paying them enough might be a good place to start. Why do they have to be lawyers anyhow? The final decision should come from engineers from the particular field the patent app is from.

    The patents my company holds in my name are embarrassing. All I do is file continual patent disclosures with our legal guys regularly. Every idea has to be documented in drawings/models. Existing artwork is mandatory & has bailed us out many times. The lawyers decide to file or not. They are filing one right now on an idea that is so easy & obvious it makes me ill to see my name on it.

     

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      angry dude, Apr 17th, 2009 @ 7:26am

      Re: There is no professional memory at the USPTO

      "Just making the positions lifetime careers by paying them enough might be a good place to start. Why do they have to be lawyers anyhow? "

      Dude

      you don't know what you are talking about

      patent examiners are not lawyers
      they are just regular guys with mostly lowly BS or MS degrees in the field and some additional training.
      Not PhDs or real engineers with years of industry experience

      "The final decision should come from engineers from the particular field the patent app is from."

      Good suggestion
      the only drawback is that those engineers in the particular field should not have any ties to corporate employers to be objective
      KInd of hard to achieve

       

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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Apr 17th, 2009 @ 3:47am

    This Inventor Needs To Strive To Be Better

    Inventor says, "The patents my company holds in my name are embarrassing. All I do is file continual patent disclosures with our legal guys regularly. Every idea has to be documented in drawings/models. Existing artwork is mandatory & has bailed us out many times. The lawyers decide to file or not. They are filing one right now on an idea that is so easy & obvious it makes me ill to see my name on it."

    It is clear that this inventor is typical of corporate inventors in general. They produce minor incremental inventions and file hordes of patents in a futile attempt to compensate with quanity for the quality which they are incapable of producing.

    It is true that these kinds of patents are useful defensive weapons, at least when dealing with other companies who have lost the ability to produce significant inventions. They are often used to drive cross licensing deals.

    These narrow patent portfolios are not useful for cutting a deal with those who produce significant inventions. That is why this kind of company is frequently a member of the Coalition for Patent Fairness. They think that since they are of short invention stature that those who stand too tall should have their legs chopped off at the knees.

    The corporate inventor who posted should aspire to become a better inventor. They should strike out on their own, leave the corporate cocoon and spread their wings. Then they would not have to be embarrassed anymore.

    Ronald J. Riley,

    Speaking only on my own behalf.
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.patentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

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    Inventor, Apr 17th, 2009 @ 5:04am

    The Great Recession is full bore...

    ... & Ronald J. Riley thinks I should quit my job. Never before in my network has the postings for people looking for work been higher & the recruitment postings been lower.

    I'm just a simple design engineer working myself to death, hoping to just stay employed. Even if I did come up with the whiz-bang super idea (I swear it's in my head somewhere!), I can't bankroll it. With 20,000 out of work designers in my state begging for a job, I can only be grateful to be employed at all.

    "They produce minor incremental inventions and file hordes of patents in a futile attempt to compensate with quantity for the quality which they are incapable of producing."

    All I do is design rock solid products that will work well, hopefully sell well, & not be a liability to my company. Products that do not infringe on existing patents, patents that never should of been granted in the first place. Our legal guys decide what gets patented, not me.

    Striking out on my own in this economy is really not a good idea, but thanks for the suggestion. I agree with you on principle, but I have a family to feed. The problem is in the patent office & the lawyers playing the patent game, not in the inventors. The inventor is just an easy target.

     

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      Ronald J Riley (profile), Apr 17th, 2009 @ 7:19pm

      Re: The Great Recession is full bore...

      I am not suggesting that you dump your job this instant. I am suggesting that you should be laying the groundwork to move beyond being a wage slave. A recession is a great time to do this.

      The Professional Inventors Alliance is working with other groups to sunset employee assignments annually so that resigning becomes part of the annual review. We would like to see employee inventors receive a nominal royalty because we now that inventing is a day and night effort.

      It is possible that you have already produced important inventions which your employer's attorney's were not bright enough to recognize. Big companies are short sighted and have trouble seeing the merits of inventions with broader implications. That is why they find themselves on the losing end of litigation with individual inventors.

      Ronald J. Riley,

      Speaking only on my own behalf.
      President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
      Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
      Senior Fellow - www.patentPolicy.org
      President - Alliance for American Innovation
      Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
      Washington, DC
      Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

       

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    angry dude, Apr 17th, 2009 @ 7:08am

    NO shit, Mikey

    Treat inventors like shit, push them around in PTO and in courts, badmouth them all the time on shitty paid-up inet blog like this, etc .etc .etc

    Then they wonder why is that nobody wants patent protection anymore ?
    Patents have become a joke over the last 5 years
    Trade secrets rule from now on
    And to hell with progress

    If I knew about all this shit coming I would never even think about applying for patent
    Alas, it's too late now
    Big crooks always win

     

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    If only you were wmart enough to know you were too, Apr 17th, 2009 @ 7:45am

    US Patent Examiners are, pretty much, a joke. US Examiners are the worst of the world wide bunch - I've prosecuted applications before the EPO, GB Office, FR Office, JP Office, CA Office, CN Office, KR Office, RU Office, & c. - each is exponentially better than the USPTO. Also, as someone who has filed thousands of Patent Office responses, the quote to the effect of "increasing quality" is the best joke I have heard this week - no, this decade.

    Folks, the data I have goes back only to 1975. For those who think the recent allowance rate was too high - history shows you are incorrect. For the vast majority of at least the last three decades, the allowance rate was between 62 and 70 percent. That's right, for more than thirty years. But, I am sure all of you whose patent knowledge comes from TechDirt and other anecdotal sources are all correct with your knee-jerk reactions that the current allowance rate of 42% is still too high. Excuse me while I see if I can roll my eyes back into place.

     

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    If you only, Apr 17th, 2009 @ 7:52am

    Truly, US examiners are clowns. Attorneys show up in suits to represent their clients, who are waiting to obtain patents for multimillion dollar inventions. On the other side of the table is a "professional" dressed in flip flops and overalls, who is pushing papers and playing games, because his supervisor is telling him "we will allow no more patents in this art unit - the art is "full," so *nothing* will ever be patentable in this group." It is embarassing the lack of professionalism at the PTO. Examiners miss three or four personal interviews (can you imagine - you fly across the country to meet with the Examiner, and she is just no where to be found?). Never shows up - no explanation, no repercussions.

    Or, when you can't even speak to an Examiner, again inventions waiting to be protected. The Examiner claims to "work from home," but never answers the phone. You are supposed to leave messages regarding multimillion dollar inventions on her personal answering machine ("hi, this is Sandy and Jake, and our dog Buddy and cat Chester. We can't take your call because it's party time, so leave a message. . . Beep . . . Hello Examiner Smith, this is Floyd Jenkins from Dewey Cheatem calling to discuss application no. 11/544,122, in which there is currently a final Office Action outstanding . . .)

     

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    angry dude, Apr 17th, 2009 @ 8:12am

    don't blame poor examiners

    You want poor dude to actually read and understand 30-40-page patent app in a few hours ?
    And grasp the essence of the invention and all of its implications ?
    And read through all of the 50 claims you spent 3 days drafting ?
    Just give them a break
    They do what they can

     

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    Chosen Reject, Apr 17th, 2009 @ 10:32am

    This is easy to fix

    This might be easy to fix. When a patent is thrown out in court, fine the USPTO. This will make them be really sure that they only grant good patents. Then again, they might just grant anything as a patent and hope the money from applications that are granted is more than the fines for the ones thrown out.

     

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    Gene Cavanaugh, Apr 17th, 2009 @ 5:10pm

    Patents

     

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    Gene Cavanaugh, Apr 17th, 2009 @ 5:16pm

    Patents

    ANY business that depends on funding from some source (VCs, whatever) tends to cater to the source.
    So, campaign funds are more easily obtained in large amounts by catering to large companies; so congresspeople who want to continue to be congresspeople cater to large companies. Large companies tend to frustrate the intent of the Constitution by using IP as a way to prop up their business models.
    Meanwhile, the USPTO is funded by fees, so people feel it is logical for them to "get tough" on patents and put themselves out of business? Is this some sort of "business model" that someone actually thinks makes sense?
    Without campaign finance reform, and government funded IP services, what do we expect?
    Is it all that difficult to understand?
    Let's put it this way - suppose I tell you that if you do business a certain way, you will be rewarded, and if you don't, you will be replaced - what do you think your response will be?

     

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      angry dude, Apr 17th, 2009 @ 10:44pm

      Re: Patents

      "Without campaign finance reform, and government funded IP services, what do we expect?"

      Bravo, dude !!!

      This is the first piece from you that actually makes sense

      But even if PTO is mostly funded by taxpayers money (as it should be) there needs to be some barrier to entry to prevent people and companies from filing junk all the time
      Say a few thousand dollars in filing fees
      If you are serious enough about your invention you should be able to commit some funds
      In other words you gotta pay if you wanna play
      Needless to say, patent filign fees for large corp like Mshit shoudl be at least 10 times more than the fee for an individual inventor
      The current difference of 2 ti8mes between small and large (more than 500 employeees) entity is laughable
      This country is for people, not for mega corporations

       

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        Willton, Apr 18th, 2009 @ 3:26pm

        Re: Re: Patents

        But even if PTO is mostly funded by taxpayers money (as it should be) there needs to be some barrier to entry to prevent people and companies from filing junk all the time
        Say a few thousand dollars in filing fees
        If you are serious enough about your invention you should be able to commit some funds
        In other words you gotta pay if you wanna play


        Given the internal costs of preparing a patent application and what most patent attorneys and agents charge for their services, the cost of filing a patent is already a few thousand dollars. I'm surprised you didn't know that, given how much you grandstand about your knowledge of patent law. Don't you claim to own a patent anyway? Shouldn't you know the costs of filing if you own a patent already?

         

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          angry dude, Apr 19th, 2009 @ 3:01pm

          Re: Re: Re: Patents

          I actually paid 12 grand at the time to a patent attny, a good one, he is a senior partner now
          Plus filing fees, plus office action, personal interview in Wash DC and issue feee
          total 20K

          Looking back I could do just as well going pro se and and just byi8ng a book "Patent it Yourself" ( and reading a few dozen patents in the field)

          What do you think, you are special by the fact that you go to law school ans they teach you how to write pat claims ?
          Any punk can do it

           

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            Willton, Apr 19th, 2009 @ 10:06pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Patents

            What do you think, you are special by the fact that you go to law school ans they teach you how to write pat claims ?
            Any punk can do it


            Sure, anyone can do it, but that does not mean that anyone can do it well. If people like you were just as good at writing patent claims as patent agents or patent lawyers, then very few could make a decent living on it. But, as it turns out, many people do make a nice living drafting and prosecuting other people's patent applications. That would lend more credence to the position that drafting and prosecuting patent claims is more difficult than you're letting on.

            But if you think you'd be just as good, go ahead and try it next time you have an invention. We'll see how powerful your patent is then and whether it was worth it to save that couple thousand bucks.

            And yes, I do think I'm pretty special because I went to law school; my degree says as much. Most people who pursue higher education think the same way about themselves. That's why they do it.

             

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              angry dude, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 6:46am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Patents

              "But if you think you'd be just as good, go ahead and try it next time you have an invention. We'll see how powerful your patent is then and whether it was worth it to save that couple thousand bucks."

              Thanks for advice, but no thanks..

              next time I will keep it a trade secret - costs you nothing and lasts forever

              I am done with patents
              Find another sucker to promote the progress

               

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 18th, 2009 @ 12:19pm

    A little perspective, please!

    In 1870 (it takes too much effort to go back further), the U.S. issued somewhere around 20,000 patents. The population of the U.S. was 38,550,371. The number of people per patent was thus 1,928. In 2007, the USPTO issued 182,928 patents. The population of the U.S. was 301,139,947. The number of people per patent was thus 1,646.

    Considering the number of foreign applications for patents in 1870 was likely significantly lower than it is today (slightly more than 50% of all patents issued are granted to U.S. citizens, companies and residents), it appears that the number of patents per capita has changed only slightly, and has probably gone done when considering the effect of foreign patents.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 18th, 2009 @ 12:22pm

      Re: A little perspective, please!

      All this in comparison to an era when patents were much less controversial and supposedly "rare."

       

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    Willton, Apr 18th, 2009 @ 3:57pm

    The complaint is that since the USPTO is funded by application fees, seeing a drop makes it more difficult to fund the USPTO. But, that leaves out the simple fact that if you're receiving fewer applications, then the Patent Office shouldn't need as many resources either.

    Your argument assumes that the USPTO is examining patent applications as fast as they are being filed. The simple fact is that they are not. There's a reason that the USPTO has a backlog of over 750,000 patent applications waiting to be examined: the USPTO does not get enough funding to competently examine patent applications efficiently. A drop in the number of patent applications filed leads to a drop in financial resources the USPTO may use to pay examiners to examine said patent applications, and that results in a lower rate of examination by the USPTO. Thus, the backlog will continue to grow if USPTO funding remains tied to the rate at which patent applications are filed.

    Considering the large number of bad patents that got through over the years, and the resulting flood of applications from others hoping to strike it rich by gaining monopolies on obvious ideas, it should be seen as a good thing that applications are finally dropping.

    This assumes that only bad patent filings will drop in number while the number of good patent filings will remain steady. I find that position to be highly dubious. The only way to make bad patent filings drop that I can see is to improve examination quality (hire better examiners, presumably by luring them in with higher salaries; improve prior art searches or the searching mechanism; make the law on nonobviousness more clear and easier to follow; etc.), as that will cause purported inventors to exercise better discretion on whether it makes financial sense to file in each case.

     

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    Bettawrekonize, May 3rd, 2009 @ 8:20am

    [quote]
    And lots of other history as well... There was great concern among many of the founding fathers. They allowed them, but warned that we needed to be vigilant, and they should only be granted in specific cases.[/quote]

    HAH!!! Now a days it's hard to breath (or swing sideways) without breaking some intellectual property law. There was a patent on software e - mail filters (what a stupid patent) so now e-mail filtration must be done at the server. What a STUPID patent. The patent system does much more harm than good. It's absolutely ridiculous.

     

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    Bettawrekonize, May 3rd, 2009 @ 8:24am

    Our whole patent system is a joke and needs to be destroyed.

     

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    Bettawrekonize, May 3rd, 2009 @ 9:03am

    [quote]
    the only drawback is that those engineers in the particular field should not have any ties to corporate employers to be objective
    KInd of hard to achieve
    [/quote]

    Yeah, just look at the FDA. Right now they are the biggest threat to human health that I can think of (in America anyways).

     

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    Bettawrekonize, May 3rd, 2009 @ 9:13am

    "Just making the positions lifetime careers by paying them enough might be a good place to start. Why do they have to be lawyers anyhow?"

    That's another thing. Who needs to file for a patent extension? Just re - apply for the same patent again (as a new patent under a different user and patent name so they can't just look up your name or the name of the patent). By the time you re - apply the patent system would be so backed up that they would have long forgotten about the first time the patent was granted.

    Patents were supposed to be the exception to the rule, not the rule. Now a days patents are the rule, not the exception.

    Perhaps we can have a system where the patent office is like the supreme court, they only take in so many cases per year (very few) and there are like six elected officials who have to approve of a patent (for a very limited time) unanimously. If one of the persons object to a patent the patent is not granted. It should be like a court decision (where most requests for patents are turned down). There should also be a website of prior patents. I am also considering the idea of putting a cap on the amount of royalties that a patent holder may request (and perhaps it should be based on the actual profit of the product, or maybe the sales price. Ie: 5 percent of net profits or 5 percent of sales price or gross profits or some other percentage as a cap). I think that finding a solution to this ridiculous system is not the difficult part, it's actually overcoming the entities that benefit from it (at the expense of everyone else).

     

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    Bettawrekonize, May 3rd, 2009 @ 9:29am

    While my above idea is a good idea, it gets very complicated if you try to apply its local context to a global scale. If we have such a system (where patents are rarely granted because you need the unanimous consensus of six elected officials) but other countries don't (and if patents apply internationally), they will have a bunch of dubious patents and we won't. That won't help us much and our government won't like that. It only works if all countries apply it (and a problem with that is that another country may have patent judges who are more prone to applying dubious patents than our country and that gets into a whole political game between patents and countries. So even if our country turns down a patent, some other country might not which just defeats the purpose of us turning it down if patents internationally apply internationally. Though patent judges should generally be familiar with patents denied by other countries so they can just turn down their request for consideration in their own country).

    Another possible system we can have is if we have a global patent court with a bunch of elected "justices" (each from different countries). Patents worldwide get submitted to them and they vote on them. One needs a 2/3 majority (perhaps) for a patent to get approved among all the countries.

    Or perhaps we can have local and global patents. Local patents get approved by a set of justices in ones own country (ie: unanimous consensus by 6 U.S. justices). The patent will only apply to that country if approved. Only if it gets approved by a U.S. Justice the entity who got the patent may then apply for a global patent and it goes to a global "court." The global court has elected officials from each country and if a 2/3 majority approves of the patent as a global patent, it will apply to all the relevant countries (a global patent).

    The point with the above is that it ensures patents are the EXCEPTION and NOT the rule. They make patents VERY rare, as they should be.

     

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    Bettawrekonize, May 3rd, 2009 @ 12:22pm

    and say that we find that the unanimous consensus of six elected officials is too easy (or difficult) to obtain. We can simply tweak the system to add 3 (or whatever) more officials and require all of their unanimous consensus (or say that we find a 2/3 majority among countries is too easy (or difficult) to obtain. We can tweak it to a 3/4 majority). The point is that the system is adjustable, we can tweak with the numbers until we end up with reasonable results. Or we can have twelves elected officials within a country and require a 2/3 majority. Or maybe every country can have their own individual system of approving patents but they only apply locally. Only if they get approved locally (to that country) may the patent owner apply for a global patent. If they apply for a global patent it goes to the system mentioned above (where you have one elected official from each country and you are required a 2/3 vote for the patent to apply to all relevant countries). So each country can have a specific, different system approving local patents, but all the countries have one unified (rigorous) system for approving a global patent (so global patents are very rare though the rarity of local patents may vary from country to country).

    For the most part, most patent requests (in most, though not necessarily all, countries (depending on how each country wants to tweak their specific local patent system)) are turned down. Most global patent requests are denied and not even considered (ie: like a summary judgment) for election. This prevents the patent system from being "backed up", the supreme court isn't really "backed up" since they simply deny most cases from even being considered.

    Also, while the patent justices themselves may or may not be engineers, they can certainly consult with various experts in a field (each one can choose who he wants to consult with or they can even consult with the Internet or any blog or anyone they choose). Just like a judge (and jury) can consult with experts in various fields before making a decision about a case.

    Another good thing about this system is that it adds transparency. Just like with Supreme Court Justices, everyone should know how every "patent justice" voted and patent justices should also be able to leave comments as to why they voted the way they did (just like with supreme court justices). This way if a bunch of dubious patents are passed everyone knows exactly who to blame. There is also the possibility of impeaching patent justices (ie: for too many dubious patents or conflicts of interest) though, just like with supreme court justices, such cases should be rare.

     

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    Bettawrekonize, May 3rd, 2009 @ 12:27pm

    [quote]
    the only drawback is that those engineers in the particular field should not have any ties to corporate employers to be objective
    KInd of hard to achieve
    [/quote]

    With the above system this can be somewhat corrected. If too many dubious patents generally make it through just increase the standard required for a patent to pass by requiring the unanimous consensus of more elected patent justices (ie: instead of 6 make it 12). Then fewer patents will make it through.

     

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    Bettawrekonize, May 3rd, 2009 @ 12:29pm

    The point is that with the above system things like this can be corrected by having the right proportion of votes required by the right number of elected justices.

     

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    Bettawrekonize, May 3rd, 2009 @ 12:31pm

    We can adjust the difficulty required for a patent to pass until we obtain the proper difficulty.

     

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