Sunday, January 27, 2008

Patent Reform 2008: less protection for the underdog?

Alexander Poltorak has an op-ed piece on patent reform (S.1145) in the Christian Science Monitor:

Second, the bill creates a mechanism for endless post-grant oppositions. This would throw a cloud of uncertainty over all issued patents, further diminishing the incentive to innovate and invest in the manufacturing of new products. Many inventors, exhausted from defending the validity of their patent repeatedly, will be forced to abandon their patents.

The bill also proposes changing from the American "first-to-invent" system, which favors true innovators, to a European-style "first-to-file" regime, which favors the winners of a sprint to the patent office. Large corporations, with their legions of patent attorneys on staff, would undoubtedly have the upper hand against small inventors and university researchers in this race.

IPBiz doesn't know if the post-grant reviews ("oppositions") would be "endless," but there should not be any at all. Get the examination right in the first place.

Of "exhaustion," recall the fate of Wilbur Wright, who lost his life in the continued fight over the patent of the Wright Brothers.


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