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. icon
    Mike (profile), 30 Dec 2005 @ 3:29pm

    Re: ridiculous

    Well, considering as how obviousness (at least obviousness under 35 U.S.C. 103(a)) is predicated upon the application of prior art, I'm not sure how else you would conduct peer review.

    So, because of your lack of creativity we need to stick with a broken system? Seems like an odd solution. Just because the law says obviousness is based on prior art doesn't mean it should be.

    If you mean to tell me that you would have independent people in the field comment on patent applications during the examination process I'm not sure how that would work. How would you get around competitors simply saying "thats obvious!" to prevent their opponents from getting a patent?

    Oh, wait, the better solution is to have people who have no idea about the specifics say whether or not something is obvious? I would say that's a much bigger problem.

    Anyway, it's not hard to craft a peer review system that takes what you say into account. Anyone saying that an idea is obvious would need to support it with a clear showing of how the state of the art was clearly leading in the direction of the patent app and explain why no one else had done it yet if there's no prior art. We're not talking about a blackball system where one person says "that's obvious" and the system is gone. Rather, it's about getting real experts to weigh in on the obviousness to make it much easier for the patent examiner to make a truly informed decision on the obviousness of the invention.

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