Who Should Be In Charge Of Patent Reform?

from the everyone-wants-their-cut dept

Every year for the past few years, Congress has put forth a patent reform bill. Every year that bill has had serious problems in that it might fix some of the problems of the patent system, but would exacerbate others. And then, of course, there's a big lobbying fight, and the pharmaceutical companies (who don't want any sort of patent reform whatsoever) win -- and the bill gets killed. It's an annual tradition. However, plenty of people still realize that patent reform is necessary, and now they're debating just how it's going to happen.

Apparently, everyone seems to think they should be the ones to determine how it works. At an FTC hearing on the matter last week, FTC Chairman William Kovacic suggested that the FTC should guide the process of patent reform. Meanwhile, Chief Judge Paul R Michel of CAFC (the appeals court that handles all patent cases) disagreed, suggesting (not surprisingly) that CAFC was perfectly capable of handling modifications to patent law, claiming that CAFC had a much better handle on the situation than Congress. Of course, that ignores the long series of problematic CAFC decisions over the past few decades that only slowed once the Supreme Court got involved and started overturning CAFC time and time again.

Of course, what this probably means is that despite plenty of hand-wringing and tons upon tons of evidence of harm done by the current patent system, nothing is going to change any time soon.
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Filed Under: cafc, ftc, patent reform, patents, paul michel, william kovacic

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Dec 2008 @ 9:25am

    Re: Re: It has to be..

    No, they're not. They're here to promote progress."

    You are selectively quoting Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 of the US Constitution to make your point, which is manifestly incorrect. The clause actually states, insofar as it pertains to patents:

    To promote the Progress of...useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to...Inventors the exclusive Right to their...Discoveries

    While you and others may personally hew to the view that "innovation" as defined on this website is the purpose of our patent laws, those who enacted the Constitution made it only too clear that such rights are to reside in the first instance with inventors.

    In this regard Shohat at #1 above is much more accurate in his charaterization of our patent laws than the majority of those who post comments on this website.

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