No Surprise: Senate Approves Useless Patent Reform

from the moving-on dept

This is hardly a surprise, but the Senate has overwhelmingly approved Senator Leahy's "patent reform" bill. It's no surprise, because after many years of attempts to approve patent reform, the bill has been so watered down (from an already weak start) to be not just meaningless, but likely to do more harm than good. Basically, one by one, each aspect of patent reform that might actually help were removed from the bill. What's left is not patent reform. It's a minor patent adjustment, designed to serve the best interests of those who abuse the system. Of course, there's still no House patent reform bill, though it'll be coming soon. There are some indications that there will be some differences between the House and Senate versions, but there are no indications that the House bill will actually have anything useful in it. If this law does pass, it won't actually be patent reform. It'll just be a minor change to the patent system, including a switch to a "first to file" system, rather than a "first to invent." While it's true that most of the world uses first to file, all that really does is encourage people to file faster, rather than to actually innovate. This is not the patent reform we need. This is a joke.

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  • identicon
    6, 9 Mar 2011 @ 1:34am

    Mike no matter your opinion, it will simplify and speed things up at the office. It will also end fee diversion so we can hire more examiners to get applications done faster and maybe eventually be able to spend more time on apps (thus achieving greater quality which you

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      IronM@sk, 9 Mar 2011 @ 1:46am

      Re:

      Found the belief in his own comment so shaky he couldn't even finish it? Maybe they got to him before he was done... He was number 6.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Mike Masnick (profile), 9 Mar 2011 @ 2:18am

        Re: Re:

        Found the belief in his own comment so shaky he couldn't even finish it? Maybe they got to him before he was done... He was number 6

        Heh. That is weird. He comments here frequently, and I believe he's a patent examiner at the USPTO. While I don't always agree with him on this stuff, I actually find him (her?) to be quite knowledgeable and usually thoughtful.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 9 Mar 2011 @ 7:24am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Nothing like respecting the privacy of your users. BTW, where is the Techdirt.com privacy policy? You know, the one that tells us who all you are sharing information with.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Sean T Henry (profile), 9 Mar 2011 @ 8:35am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You could create an account and find out or you could think. If the user ever said that they worked for the USPTO and just look at the icon next to the user name.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 9 Mar 2011 @ 10:55am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Sorry, I have icons and a whole bunch of other stuff blocked, because without a proper privacy police, I have no idea what my personal information is being used for, and who it is being given to, and how it is being tracked.

              My block list includes:

              127.0.0.1 static.ak.fbcdn.net
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              127.0.0.1 cdn.wibiya.com
              127.0.0.1 edge.quantserve.com

              There are still more, but at least I got rid of most of the crap (including that tracking toolbar that appears to know a little too much).

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                vivaelamor (profile), 9 Mar 2011 @ 1:38pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "Sorry, I have icons and a whole bunch of other stuff blocked, because without a proper privacy police, I have no idea what my personal information is being used for, and who it is being given to, and how it is being tracked."

                Maybe you don't use Firefox, but I find the RequestPolicy addon much more effective and manageable than a host list.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Mike Masnick (profile), 9 Mar 2011 @ 3:10pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Nothing like respecting the privacy of your users.

            He said he was a patent examiner. I have not revealed anything he did not reveal himself.

            BTW, where is the Techdirt.com privacy policy? You know, the one that tells us who all you are sharing information with

            Same place it's always been. http://www.insightcommunity.com/privacy.php

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Mar 2011 @ 1:47am

      Re:

      Why do we need a simpler and speedier process? I want a damn process that works.

      Look at the mobile phone lawsuits being flung left, right and center. All of them are big companies, and all of them spend big bucks on R&D. I can almost guarantee that NONE of them have stolen any patented material...yet every last one of them are going through million dollar lawsuits.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, 9 Mar 2011 @ 3:46am

    A Small Improvement

    Well, as I noted a couple of months ago, First-to-File is actually modified First-to-Publish. I took the trouble to read the text of the bill, and filing date only becomes operational if all parties fail to publish before filing. It's not a terrific improvement, but it does make it a bit more difficult for patent trolls to copy matter from the public press (or the roadmap of an open-source project) into patent applications and claim they knew about it before publication.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20101129/01154212032/are-companies-scanning-open-so urce-commit-logs-patenting-what-they-find.shtml#c263

    Of course the Supreme Court is going to have to do the heavy lifting, one way or another, and a heavy element of this will consist of reforming court procedure, and administrative procedure in the Patent Office. Congress can generally only deal with issues which have a clear political dimension, issues where the man-in-the-street has some kind of conviction, issues such as healthcare.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Jose_X, 9 Mar 2011 @ 11:39pm

      Re: A Small Improvement

      Thanks, I was not sure if first-to-file made it easier than it already is to copy what exists (after modifying it a little in order to leap over that great chasm that is nonobviousness to a PHOSITA) or if it was only relevant in cases where people claimed their inventions were secret and the spark had flown much earlier and only now got around to filing.

      So it's good to know this might be an improvement.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Mar 2011 @ 7:22am

    Here is a simple question:

    How do you know for certain it is useless? Or is that only an opinion? Hard to tell around here these days.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Mar 2011 @ 1:26pm

    First to file is a travesty for all inventors.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    staff, 10 Mar 2011 @ 7:03am

    fraud

    Just because they call it “reform” doesn’t mean it is. Patent reform is a fraud on America. This bill will not do what they claim it will. What it will do is help large corporations maintain their monopolies and kill their small entity and startup competitors (which is exactly what they intended it to do) and with them the jobs they would have created. According to recent studies by the Kauffman Foundation and economists at the U.S. Census Bureau, “startups aren’t everything when it comes to job growth. They’re the only thing.” This bill is a wholesale slaughter of US jobs. America.

    Please see http://truereform.piausa.org/ for a different/opposing view on patent reform.
    http://docs.piausa.org/2011PatentReform/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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