Patent Reform In The Wrong Direction

from the yes,-let's-make-things-worse dept

Someone who prefers to remain anonymous writes “This panel seeks to reform patents by issuing the patent to the first person who applies for it instead of the first person to invent it. Isn’t this the exact opposite of what we should be doing?” The article is talking about the National Research Council recommendations, and there are a few more details to this story that don’t actually make the article. Most of the rest of the world does use the “first to file” method of patent protection, and it’s been an ongoing battle between the US and other nations about bringing the two patent systems into line. Since so many more places use “first to file” rather than “first to invent” it’s long been assumed that the US would eventually fall into line. It is backwards, of course, and is designed more to make it easier to figure out who should own the patent, rather than to actually encourage innovation. Instead, it will simply encourage people to file more bogus patents earlier in the process, just to make sure. It is a step backwards, and the only justification for it is to avoid having to spend difficult time figuring out who actually deserves the patent. I would much prefer patents go to those who actually deserve it, as that would seem to actually encourage innovation.

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