NTP Trying To Drag Out The Patent Rejection Process? Wonder Why...

from the hmm dept

Last week the US Patent Office took the surprising step of reaching out and calling both RIM and NTP to let them know that it's very, very likely to reject all of NTP's patents at the heart of the excruciatingly long patent battle with RIM. This was extremely important because the judge in the patent lawsuit had said that he wouldn't wait for the Patent Office's ruling, mainly because he was sick of dealing with the case (who knew that impatience was a reasonable reason for ignoring important evidence and pushing a billion dollar fine?). So, now, the two parallel timelines become much more important. The companies are supposed to file documents with the court by February 1, 2006 -- and the judge is expected to rule soon afterwards. As for the patent review process, NTP was supposed to get its response in by the end of this month, but has managed to squeeze out a 30-day extension meaning it won't have to file the response until the nearly the same date as when the judge will make his decision. While NTP denies it's dragging out the process, it's clearly in the company's interest to do so. Still, we wonder how the judge can, in good conscience, still move forward with the case when the Patent Office has clearly stated that it believes it made a huge mistake in originally granting these patents. Meanwhile, it still seems like a reasonable question as to whether RIM can sue the Patent Office for its admitted negligence in issuing these patents (though, of course, they might want to wait until the patents are really rejected).

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  1. identicon
    patentman, 30 Dec 2005 @ 12:47pm

    Re: ridiculous

    "Er, no. I said that the vast majority of patents are not used."

    Well, given that the only rights a patent grants to the patentee is to prevent others from making, using, selling, or importing the claimed invention, I don't see how a patent can be "used" in any manner aside from enforcement and/or litigation.

    "Do you really think that if there was no patent system, that we would still be stuck in the middle ages? I don't think so."

    I don;t think we would be in the middle ages, but I think that a lot of the high tech devices we see now would not exist. Inventors may invent regardless of the presence of a patent system to protect their inventions. They will, however, resort to alternate methods of protecting those inventions, i.e. trade secrets. This logically flows from the fact that it does not make economic sense to spend millions of dollars developing a technology that your competitors can ultimately steal at virtually no cost to themselves. The catch with trade secrets, however, is that they are never divulged to the public willfully.

    "That said, the government has bought into the argument and created a system where a monopoly is granted for an idea for a limited length of time."

    No. No. NO! Rule number 1 of U.S. Patent Law: "Ideas" ARE NOT patentable. To be patentable, an "invention" must fall within one of the statutory classes of invention recited in 35 U.S.C. 101. Namely, an invention must be a new and useful machine, composition of matter, process, etc. Ideas, in and of themselves, do not fall within one of these statutory classes. Thus, ideas, in and of themselves, are not patentable. Sorry to harp on this point, but this is a fundamental misunderstanding that a lot of people have about the U.S. Patent System.

    "But, I don't think the system was created so that every single idea could be patented."

    I agree that no "ideas" should be patented, mcuh less every idea. This may surprise you, but I also agree that not every "invention" should be patented either. Remember, I was an Examiner. My allowance rate was 13% while I was at the PTO. So I certainly agree that everything should not be patented. Hell, I just wrote a paper for my law review journal touting that same point with respect to nanotechnology.

    "Your bias as a law student working in a patent law office is come through loud and clear. Afterall you can't bite the hand that feeds you. If your client believes that his government granted monopoly has been infringed on, you will say and do whatever is necessary to win."

    I don;t see how anything I said before was biased. I've merely tried to explain the U.S. Patent system here. As for saying "anything" to win, I wouldn;t go that far. I'll say anything so long as I know that it is not untruthful or dishonest. If there is room for argument, however (which there is in a lot of patent law), you better believe I'm gonna fight as hard as I can for my client. Indeed, I am bound by Agency law to do so.

    "A good lawyer doesn't blow off opposing comments as ignorant."

    I didn't blow off the other comments in this thread as ignorant, I merely stated that they WERE ignorant, and explained exactly why they were so. I firmly beleive that before you can criticize anything you need to actually understand what you are criticizing. I give mionimal weight to any arguments that criticize the patent office while at the same time employing terminology and arguments that evince a clear misunderstanding of patent law. Quite simply some of the problems people assert (i.e. your statement above that all "ideas" should not be patentable) quite simply don't exist, or at least not in the terms that are expressed.

    "Rather he tries to understand what is behind those comments and how that understanding can be used to improve his own arguments. But you are still a student, so you still have lots to learn."

    I understand perfectly well what is behind the arguments that have been presented in this forum. 50% of what is behind them is ignorance of the U.S. Patent System. The other 50% is a mixture of genuine interest in improving the current patent system or in doing away with it altogether. I haven;t presented any of my own arguments regarding how the current patent system could be improved. I merely defended the current system by stating what the law ACTUALLY is, and how the arguments presented in this forum are, for the most part, fundamentally flawed.

    As for having a lot to learn, I agree, I have a lot to learn about everything. So do you and everyone else in the world.

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