Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Latest Attempt At Patent Reform Introduced

from the another-year,-another-attempt dept

Representatives Rick Boucher and Howard Berman have decided to take their own stab at patent reform. While we (pretty obviously) have been pushing for patent reform for quite some time, we've been mostly disappointed by the attempts from Congress in the past. From the article discussing the Boucher/Berman bill, it sounds like it's a step in the right direction, though hardly a comprehensive reform plan. It would add two useful features: letting third parties comment during the application process as well as setting up a program for post grant reviews (hopefully one that's a lot more efficient and useful than what's in place now). Of course, none of this gets to the heart of the problems with the system, but if they can slow down the more egregious problems of the system, that's not a bad thing.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous of Course, 1 Feb 2007 @ 2:37pm

    It's progress

    I like it. It IS progress and positive feedback
    to the responsible Representatives is in order.

    When the dog finally lies down on command
    you don't tell him you're disappointed because
    he didn't roll over as well.

    Give the nice politicians a cookie.. err I mean
    encouraging comment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    PhysicsGuy, 1 Feb 2007 @ 4:11pm


    basically, mike, you're the environmentalists of the patent world. you bitch and moan about something and when someone attempts to do something it's never enough. lovely.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    vapiddreamer, 1 Feb 2007 @ 6:03pm

    for once I have to agree with PhysicsGuy

    This is a potentially HUGE step in the right direction. You do seem to expect some magical overnight destruction/transformation of a system that has been being built up for a very long time. That's not how the real world works. And when it is the way that it ends up working, the results usually as many or more problems than the original.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Gregory Bloom, 1 Feb 2007 @ 6:57pm

    Obviousness Bounty

    To really reform things, they should require patent applicants to post an obviousness bounty. Then let a bunch of college students read the claims for the patent and brainstorm for a couple of hours on possible inventions that would satisfy those claims. If the college students come up with the same solution that's being patented, they keep the bounty, the patent is denied, and all the brainstorms are entered into a huge "prior art" repository. I mean, if all it takes is a bull session of a few college students to come up with the idea, there's not really what you'd call a "spark of genius" worth protecting, is there?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, 1 Feb 2007 @ 7:18pm


    He said that it did not fix the central problems, but that it was not a bad thing (as in saying that someong is good, but not wonderful)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Ex-PTO Employee, 1 Feb 2007 @ 8:09pm

    Buy a new Eight Ball

    Seriously, when I worked there, examiner's used them to grant patents.

    What do you expect? Does anyone really expect much quality on something when you one have a few hours per case? No exaggeration, my case load was ~ 8 hours per one case. Can't do much in that amount of time.

    Time for reform in this office is LONG overdue.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    mjr1007, 1 Feb 2007 @ 9:08pm

    A different perspective.

    How can anyone think that laws about IP from a preindustrial age could possibly work in the information age. Sheer madness.

    Public review from people who would like to use the new idea would uniformly be negative. Of course it's obvious, that way I can use the idea without having to license it.

    It's just replacing one bad idea with another.

    The right approach is to have open licensing. All manufactures paid a fixed percentage to license all the IP in their products. Since they have to make the payment and all manufactures do there is no incentive to sue. The IP holders can bicker amoung themselves to see what share goes to who.

    When an important patent expires the goverment get's that share as a tax.

    Clean and simple, no muss no fuss. Of course it's unrealistic since it looks forward and not backwards as lawyers often do.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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