Patents Go Global

from the harmonizing-or-causing-more-strife? dept

If you thought the patent process in the US was screwed up (and it is), just wait until you get a feel for the global patent process. It looks like, for any single invention, you're talking about somewhere around half a million dollars just to handle all the filings and legal fees necessary to get a patent around the world. For small businesses and independent inventors that's impossible. So, now, many people are working towards "harmonizing" the global patent process so that everyone agrees on a single patent process that can be used around the world. Of course, this brings up a new set of problems. The biggest one is that the US currently uses a "first to invent" rule for issuing patents - while most of the rest of the world uses the "first to file" method. The "first to invent" seems a lot more fair, but much more difficult for the patent office to handle. In the name of simplicity, fairness is apparently going to be tossed out the window, and the US seems willing to accept "first to file" rules. All of this makes it clear that there's little-to-no chance that our patent system is going to become any better in the near future - and it might even get worse.

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