And Now Europe Feels The Need To Catch Up To China And The US In The Self-Destructive Patent Race

from the bad-news-for-innovation dept

Well, you had to know this was coming. When you make the very dangerous mistake of assuming that patents are a proxy for innovation, then you get concerned when other countries/regions are getting more patents than you are. We've already covered how China is ramping up their patent approvals in an attempt to create an economic weapon against the West ("sorry, you can't sell those computers here, they violate the patent of this Shanghai firm..."). And, of course, the US has stupidly fallen into line and started approving patents willy-nilly to keep up. So, over in Europe, overreacting bureaucrats are about to make the same mistake. They've declared that the EU is "falling behind" in innovation (really, patents) and are urging a more streamlined patent system that would be European-wide. The idea, of course, is that with a EU-wide patent system, it becomes easier to get patents. Of course, that only helps innovation if patents actually lead to more innovation and, sadly, the evidence suggests otherwise.

Filed Under: china, eu, patents, us


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  1. identicon
    Willton, 4 Feb 2011 @ 7:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The idea that patent examiners could magically find time to efficiently and accurately approve "just" 8 or 9 more patents per year is highly misleading as well. Patent examiners ALREADY have very little time to review patents. Squeezing an extra 8 or 9 in per year is a tremendous leap. Anyone who thinks otherwise has no clue how the patent examination process works.

    Do you have any clue as to how the patent examination process works? Because I'm not sure that you do.

    You seem to be of the mindset that Rejection=Quality. That was the mindset that Directors Dudas and Doll took when they were directors of the USPTO, as their policies involved quality control analysis over notices of allowance but not over rejections. However, that mentality is incorrect, as it encourages the rejection of worthy applications. Bad rejections gum-up the works, as they do not incentivize applicants to concede subject matter during examination. Bad rejections encourage applicants to file requests for continued examination or notices of appeal, which increase the pendency of their respective applications.

    If you want to see a truer picture of whether the quality of examination has risen or lowered, I would suggest you look at other sources of explanation, such as rising or falling rates of abandonment, length of time in prosecution from first action to allowance or abandonment, the disposal rate of cases on appeal, and the reasons for such disposals.

    Finally that 8 or 9 is an "average." What could possibly suddenly make every patent examiner massively more efficient? No one has suggested any viable reason, other than spending less time reviewing patents and simply approving more bad patents.

    Why does efficiency have to be about examining more applications? Why can't it be just proper examination, which leads to proper disposal? When patent applications are properly examined and rejected or allowed, it reduces the pendency of such applications, as allowances lead to issued patents, and good rejections encourage applicants to narrow their claims or abandon their applications altogether.

    Once again, rejection does not equal quality. If an application lands on an examiner's desk and meets the requirements for patentability, it should be allowed by the examiner. Examiners should not conjure up reasons to reject the application just to give the impression of quality.

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