More Calls To Reform The Patent System
from the it's-bash-intellectual-property-laws-day dept
Earlier today we posted an article about how copyright law was harming, not helping, innovation. To go with that, how about an article from the Washington Post about how the patent system is harming, not helping, innovation. While the first article looked at DMCA smack-down suits, this one looks at all of the little patent shops that buy up ridiculous patents, don’t actually build anything, wait for someone else (completely independently) to build something similar, and then sue them. It also looks at big companies who patent thousands of ideas every year, and then threaten any small company that might compete with them to “license our patents or else.” The article mentions that many are hopeful that the resignation of the current USPTO directer will encourage real reform (despite all the praise he’s receiving for being a “reformer”). From the quotes from the incoming director, though, I wouldn’t hold my breath. In response to an FTC report that loudly questions the current patent system, the new USPTO director basically says that his hands are tied by treaty agreements the US has. He is happy, however, that the FTC suggests the patent office gets more money. Big surprise there. The money will go to more patent examiners, which just means that bad patents will get approved that much faster. What’s needed is a real rethinking of the process. If the point of patents is to encourage innovation, we need to see if that’s really happening or (if as appears in many cases) it’s really just legalized extortion.