by Mike Masnick
Wed, Mar 9th 2011 1:14am
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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