Thursday, July 19, 2007

Fuzzy thinking at ZDNet?

IPBiz noted the following comment on ZDNet:

Your point in this first section isn't clear. Are you denying that patents were originally supposed to be for innovations, or are you simply stating the obvious: that the patent office no longer applies that standard consistently, or are you pleading the technicality that filing an application isn't the same as having the patent awarded?

I expect that most of us who complain about patents/patent applications on the obvious have some familiarity with all of that. What we are hoping is that consistent public scorn will contribute to the patent office eventually cleaning up its act.

Having technically knowledgeable people present these iffy applications with a completely straight face and then accuse the complainers of ignorance is not the way to fix things.

IPBiz notes that patents were NEVER (originally or otherwise) supposed to be for innovations. Patents are for disclosure of inventions that conform to the requirements of patent law. The difference between innovation and invention is discussed in many places, including at Getting the Patent Reform Wars on Track . It's not clear that the folks at ZDNet know the difference.

Separately, even the NAS/STEP report acknowledges that there is no systematic evidence for a lack of quality at the USPTO. See for example page 3 of the NAS/STEP report.

Also, given that the patent grant rate is no where near 90% (and is in fact between 50 and 60%), the distinction between a pubished application and an issued patent is hardly a technicality.


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