Patent Re-Exams Improve Patent Quality; So Why Does Congress Want To Limit Them?

from the questions-that-should-be-answered dept

I've explained why I'm not comfortable with the proposed patent reform effort, as there are a number of changes in it that could potentially make the system much worse. One example, as the EFF highlighted last month, was that it would unnecessarily limit the ability of third parties to request a re-exam of a patent. Now the EFF is looking through some statistics and noting some rather shocking numbers about third-party-initiated patent re-exams. Contrary to what some supporters of the patent system claim, it appears that a large majority of these requests aren't just legitimate requests, but serve to have a patent's claims limited or rejected entirely. 92% of re-exam requests are granted, with 3 out of every 4 exams resulting in adjustments (or total rejections) of the patents. In other words, clearly, the process helps improve patent quality. So why would Congress want to remove that part?

However, a much bigger question should probably be: why is the Patent Office so bad at getting things right the first time around? If so many patents end up needing to be corrected on re-exam, it certainly sounds like patent examiners aren't doing a very good job. Given the already massive economic costs that result from bad patents, this should be a major concern.
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Filed Under: patent reform, patents, re-exam, uspto

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  1. identicon
    DanC, 19 Mar 2008 @ 9:49am

    Re: EFF

    I wish the shills for large corporate thieves would stop whining about patents and put effort into developing innovative technologies to help us better compete with the Chinese

    Except of course that almost every time one of them does develop innovative technologies to help compete with the Chinese, they wind up having to waste both time and money defending themselves over patent claims.

    With companies both large and small patenting every little detail concerning their R&D, it should come as no surprise that whenever one of them comes out with a profitable product, they are subsequently hit with patent lawsuits.

    Sometimes the claims are broader than needed as a practical matter

    And sometimes the claims are broader than needed in order to have a larger field to file lawsuits against, such as the infamous "JPEG Patent" held by Global Patent Holdings.

    Are they truly an advocacy group, or just paid assassins?

    So...immediately after saying that the article doesn't provide enough data to support the claim of "substantial effect", you enter into a rant over the EFF filled with unsubstantiated claims? Where's your data?

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