by Mike Masnick
Mon, Sep 10th 2007 2:11am
This ought to come as no surprise at all. A group that supposedly represents patent examiners has come out against the latest attempt at patent reform. As we've made clear, the attempt at patent reform certainly has some major problems, but those don't seem to be the focus of the complaint. Instead, the document seems to be a combination of patent examiners claiming "it's not our fault!" for approving all sorts of awful patents along with a plea to hire more patent examiners. This is wrong on both accounts -- though, perhaps you can blame others (the USPTO and the courts, for instance) for pushing patent examiners to approve patents that had no business being approved. As for the old myth that hiring more patent examiners will fix the problem, that's been thoroughly debunked. Patent examiners simply don't scale at the same pace as innovation. The problem isn't that we need more examiners, but that too many people have lost sight of the real purpose of the patent system: to create incentives for innovation. It is not, as many people now assume, to give full ownership of an idea to the first person to claim it. The sooner people recognize the real purpose of the patent system, the faster we'll get rid of the problems the current patent system creates in hindering innovation.
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