The Patent System Fights Back: Just Wants More Cash

from the nice-try dept

While more and more mainstream news organizations are pointing out the need for patent system reform, it appears those who support the current system are trying to fight back, by claiming that all the system needs is a little more money — ignoring all the fundamental problems behind the patent system. The assumption is that, with a little more money, the USPTO could hire a few more patent examiners, and then, suddenly, they’d be able to search through “the complete record of the global human achievement to determine if any “prior art” would invalidate the claim.” If the patent office can’t figure out some of the most obvious cases of prior art, it’s hard to see how a little more money is going to solve that. However, going even deeper, there’s a fundamental disconnect here. The writer of the article defending the patent system states that without the current patent system, no innovation would occur in the US. This is (ahem!) patently false. It’s already been shown that countries without patent systems can innovate rapidly and that innovation and invention are two very different beasts. The patent system protects invention — but not innovation. In fact, with the rise of patent hoarding, the current patent system seems to be actively working against innovation. Dumping more money into the system for more of the same doesn’t help matters. It just makes the mess more expensive.

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Comments on “The Patent System Fights Back: Just Wants More Cash”

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Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:

I've said it before...

They need to revamp the system so that once the patent examiner has completed their work, the patent goes into a protected ‘patent pending’ status and is displayed on the web for everyone with internet access to review and to provide prior art to try and stop it before it goes to ‘patent approved’ status.

The cost to a company for each patent filed should be increased for every invalid patent that is rejected. If you file only good, valid patents, then your cost never goes up. When you file a bunch of crappy patents that can be easily disputed (and perhaps the faster it’s disputed the more the next patent should cost) then your price starts going up.

The USPTO could do like the old patent bounty site used to do and pay out monetary rewards to the first person/people submitting prior art to invalidate a patent.

This has a couple of distinct advantages, 1) the USPTO doesn’t have to hire a bunch of new patent examiners – the entire US becomes the new patent examiners and 2) When a stupid, blatantly obvious patent gets approved, we have noone to blame but ourselves.

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