Christian Tremblay points us to news of a new OECD report that agrees that falling patent quality is holding back innovation
The quality of patent filings has fallen dramatically over the past two decades, claims a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The rush to protect even minor improvements in products or services is overburdening patent offices, which in turn slows the time to market for true innovations and reduces the potential for breakthrough inventions they claim.
Of course, the real way to fix this problem is to make the bar to get a patent much, much higher. If you do that, you get less bogus patent apps being submitted, and it makes it easier to reject such bogus patents. One easy way to do this would be to use independent invention
as a sign of obviousness, and reject patents where multiple parties all came up with the same thing independently. Unfortunately, no one seems to seriously be considering such an option. And so we're stuck with crappy patents and a giant backlog. To date, the only way that the US has seen to get through that backlog is to approve patents faster
with less scrutiny than before. Tragically, this has had the exact opposite effect of the intended response. When you approve more bad patents quickly, you only encourage even more
bad patent applications.