Patent Reform Bill May Have Stalled Out

from the and-here-we-are-yet-again dept

Pretty much every year Congress tries to reform patent law, and there's always a big fight. Of course, the entrenched interests who are profiting tremendously off of the patent system have no interest in changing it, so every time patent reform is introduced, it eventually stalls out and goes nowhere. Each time it's reintroduced, the few kernels of good ideas are diminished and more bad ideas are included. And eventually you get to this year, where the patent reform bill basically leaves out most of the good ideas and includes plenty of bad ideas. So, it's at least some bit of good news that it looks like this bill has stalled out as well, as the House isn't happy with the Senate bill, and neither side seems willing to compromise any more. The patent system is in drastic need of reform -- but this bill will almost certainly make the system worse, not better. The likelihood of getting any useful reform seems pretty unlikely at this point. At best, we have to hope that the courts keeping making smart rulings on patents.

Filed Under: patent reform, patents


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  1. identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, 7 May 2010 @ 10:22am

    Re: Bilski

    Angry Dude, just for the record, you really don't want to know how large and generally ursine I am. When I was a kid, I played center in amateur American football, if that locates me. As the saying goes [American] football isn't a contact sport, it's a _collision_ sport, and the center does more than his share of the colliding. But don't worry, I haven't bitten anyone for years. Tell you what, you can call me a "blindly charging buffalo" if you like.

    The grounds upon which the Patent Office rejected Bilski's patent application made it into a case about software patents. Possibly they could have found other grounds, but they did not, and at least one of the Supreme Court justices has expressed the view that a discussion of business method patents has to involve software patents because business methods are practically implemented as software.

    You take a much too narrow view of silicon hardware. If you mean gate logic, yes, that would become unpatentable under an expansive reading of Bilski. But there are all kinds of other things. For example, can you make a better photosensor for cameras? The conventional variety involves putting different colored filters over adjoining cells in a grid, but that effectively throws away three-quarters of the available light. Can you come up with an arrangement whereby photons of different colors, and consequently, different energies penetrate different depths into the photosensor, and push electrons into capacitors in different layers? This isn't something you could express in Verilog, of course (I don't think?).

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