Could RIM/NTP Decision Set In Process Necessary Patent Reform?

from the hopefully dept

Sometimes things need to get worse before they get better. It appears that some believe NTP getting $612.5 million for patents that had already been ruled invalid is just the sort of thing to finally wake people up to how bad the patent system has become. Now the Council of Foreign Relations has put out a report bashing the current US patent system, saying that the RIM-NTP case may be the lightning rod needed to finally start fixing the system. The report notes how the current system has been hindering, not helping, innovation. It also points out that the US keeps pushing foreign countries to change their patent system to be more like the US, and that could cause global problems. Finally, it highlights that other countries, with less encompassing patent systems (for example ones that don’t allow patents on business models or software) have not suffered from a lack of innovation. The one point in the report that I’d disagree with is blaming the “deteriorating quality” of patents on the shortage of examiners. The problem has little to do with the number of examiners, but the process that has encouraged an increasing number of patent filings by everyone hoping to be the next NTP and a Patent Office system that places incentives in front of examiners if they approve patents rather than reject them. Combine that and you get a lot more patent applications with a lot of them getting approved — and many of dubious quality. Tighten up the rules of the patent system and the number of bogus applications will drop rapidly, and the smaller number of patent examiners won’t matter nearly as much.

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Comments on “Could RIM/NTP Decision Set In Process Necessary Patent Reform?”

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Ajax 4Hire (profile) says:

cost of business can be too costily..

So sad that the typical lawyer response is to settle because the legal fees will be more than the settlement.

I get angry just thinking about.

Business is business and a company has no back-bone, it only has shareholders, board members, employees all who want to make money.

And yes, a business is in the business to make money; if it says otherwise then they are lying to themselves.

But to rollover because the United States Legal System is too overwhelming and costly spell the end of business in the United States. Time to move my investments.

ohh yeah, I’m first.

Nathan (profile) says:

Beginning to be a convert

While I’ve usually sided with the “pro-IP” side often, I’m beginning to see a lot of benefits lately to the “anti-IP” side. I use “IP” to lump together patents, trademark, and copyrights. They all seem to have some serious issues lately and I’m starting to think that too many people view the critique that something needs to be fixed as equivalent to everything should be abolished. RIM-NTP was just such a glaring example of one facet.

I look to the Coke v. Pepsi wars for an ideal situation in my mind. The leader on any given day in that war is the one that pilots their ship the most efficiently, advertises well, distributes most effectively, capitalizes on pop culture trends, etc. It’s not about hiding some secret or locking your consumers into your product through legal means. It’s a commodity. Let everyone compete on an open playing field and have at it. May the best man be left standing at the end of the day. We all win that way.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Beginning to be a convert

It’s not about hiding some secret or locking your consumers into your product through legal means.

Coca-Cola was created as the first soft-drink that used a Cocoa derivitive (cocaine) because of its “pick me up” effect, and also due to its highly addictive nature.

Coca-Cola was later required to replace the cocaine in its beverage by the FDA because it was too addictive (my facts are NOT verified here) and after research it decided that caffeine could have a similar affect without altering the taste too drasticly, and was allowed by the FDA.

Years later, it was discovered that caffeine is FAR MORE ADDICTIVE than cocaine.

Summary: Coke has caffeine, Pepsi has caffeine. Caffeine is highly addictive. (around the same order of addictiveness as nicotine) Therefore you don’t use LEGAL means to “lock in your customers” you use BIOLOGICAL means.

And here, regulation by the government actually made the situation WORSE for consumers. (when a simple followup by the FDA would have proved highly beneficial to consumers)

Adam Wasserman says:

shortage of examiners

I could be wrong, but I was under the impression that the USPTO’s laissez-faire attitude of late only came about after a decade of frantic pleas to staff up on examiners so that proper dilligence could be excercised in granting.

I would suggest that the current climate is not completely the fault of “the process”. The process worked just fine until the mid-nineties.

I have long believed that gratuitous patents and patent trolls came about as a result of new “opportunities” that came about due to the sudden lowering of standards in the mid-nineties when the USPTO threw up its hands in disgust at the lack of federal support and said something to the effect of: “shoot ’em all. Let God (the courts) sort ’em out”


|333173|3|_||3 says:


while it is addictive, you proably take in so much that you don’t notice the addiction anyway: tea, coffee, chocolate, soft drinks, etc. while caffeine is addictive, teh withdrawl symptoms are not significan ( i know someone who was addicted to caffeine, she was fine after a few weeks, and there were hardly and withdrawl symptoms apart from tiredness). Even those energy drinks don’t cpntain that much caffeine (though I don’t drink them).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: caffiene

Wow, you should go apply for a spin job at a tobacco company!

It’s ok if you’re hopelessly addicted, everyone else is too!

The withdrawal symptoms in recovering from a physical addiction to nicotine is actually much shorter and easier to get by than that of caffeine. It only takes about three days to get over the physical part. (it takes years to get over the mental part / lifestyle change).

Caffeine withdrawal, however takes weeks to get through. So many people are addicted to caffeine and don’t realize it. (Know anyone who gets strangely depressed when they dont get their daily ration of coffee, tea, soda?)

Anyways, on point, the topic of cocaine/caffeine was only introduced to show that the Coke/Pepsi battle was not a good example for the original poster.

Not to go on a tyrade about the evils of caffeine and the disingenious ban of cocaine.

Jojo says:

Buying into RIM publicity stunts...

What makes you think that there’s anything wrong with NTP’s patents? Is it becuase RIM said so…? Have you investigated the merits of their arguments? A U.S. District Court, Appeals Court, and U.S. Supreme Court found that NTP’s patents are solidly valid and infringed by RIM. So what makes you think that NTP’s patents are of questionable validity?

You reference to the “rejection” by USPTO Examiner in the reexamination of NTP’s patents, is not a “finding” of invalidity. Do you know what a re-examination is? Do you know the process? Does it anyway “prove” anything about the patent system?

You are just buying into RIM hyperbole, and don’t known a darn thing about patent law. So just butt out.

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