Ban Frivolous Patent Filers

from the people-are-noticing... dept

It looks like more people are noticing the ridiculousness coming out of the patent system lately. ZDNet in the UK has spotted some of Microsoft’s questionable patents that seem to keep showing up including a new one for looking up phone numbers on your mobile phone. The article puts it best: “It may be that nobody involved in that patent has ever seen, owned or operated a mobile phone. It may be that Microsoft’s patent lawyers are genuinely unaware of the concept of prior art. It may be that Microsoft is gaming the system, taking advantage of patent office docility to create a legal minefield disguised with only the very faintest veneer of innovation.” And this all comes from a company that claims it wants to reform the patent system. Maybe all of these patents are just being filed to prove their point? Either way, the ZDNet article concludes by suggesting that entities that repeatedly file frivolous patents be given a “red card” and be banned from taking part in the patent system. This sounds like a great idea, except for one tiny detail. The patent office still doesn’t seem to think any of these patents are “frivolous.” They just keep approving them, and leaving it for the courts to sort out down the road. No wonder lawyers love the patent system.

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