UK Actually Willing To Admit The Patent System Has Problems?

from the about-time dept

The scary thing about all the talk we’ve done on patents lately is that it had seemed that very few politicians had any idea that, in many cases, patents seemed to be doing the reverse of what they were supposed to do. That is, they were holding back, not encouraging innovation. Patent attorneys, for one, have been doing quite a job trying to convince everyone that the system is just fine. There’s plenty of evidence that this is not true, with the exploding costs of doing business thanks to patents and the general chilling effects seen in research areas, as researchers don’t even bother with some types of research knowing that they’re only going to get caught in a nasty nest of patent battles. With all that in mind, it’s interesting to see the head of an independent government review of patent issues in the UK note that the current system seems to have devolved to the point that it “may stunt invention and discourage research and development.” That’s a bit different from the US, where they continue to insist the only real problem is that there just aren’t enough patent examiners — and thus they plan to make the patent system worse by (1) trying to hire more patent examiners while also (uh oh) (2) putting incentives in place to get everyone to file more patents. That’s just going to make the situation much worse, as patent examiners don’t scale. The good news, in the UK, is that they’re asking for help. They want people to weigh in on the problems of the patent system — and you can be sure that those who have an entrenched interest in keeping the system as is will be doing so. Now it’s time for those who actually focus on doing the innovation to step up and be heard as well.

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