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
    Dan Lewis, 19 Mar 2008 @ 10:32am

    Re: EFF

    http://www.eff.org/about
    EFF is a donor-funded nonprofit, as five seconds with Google would have told you. Two-thirds of their budget is from individual donors. They are renowned for pursuing cases that affect the tech community for the better. They are currently suing AT&T for spying on Americans without a warrant, for example. Your profound ignorance on this issue does not bode well.

    I have seen you make this comment on another thread in my wanderings around the internet, dealing with patents:
    http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/26062

    And here's your story, Steve Wren. You are not exactly disinterested.
    http://money.cnn.com/2007/06/18/magazines/fsb/patent_reform.fsb/index.htm

    I call shenanigans. You're not engaging with the stories you criticize. You accuse people of bias without acknowledging your own biases. And your bent to conspiracy theories (here, and elsewhere, where you claim that patent trolling is an overblown red herring, when in fact software patents are stifling competition all over the industry, see SCO, RIM, JPEG, MP3, one-click, Microsoft FUD about Linux, and on and on, not to mention a well-documented pattern of get-rich-quick patent suits being filed in a certain East Texas courtroom) are not persuasive in the slightest.

    I would suggest taking this up in your own site and personal blog, then gathering a community of like-minded individuals around you, if you can. When you comment on articles like this one, make a relevant point, then link to your blog to discuss the issues in more depth.

    Unlike what you just did.

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