Establishing prior art to ward off bad patents
By publishing its innovations, the life sciences industry creates prior art hurdles that make it harder to patent obvious inventions while at the same time making it easier to knock out improperly issued patents. Because the software industry generally does not publish, it struggles to invalidate patents that it claims should not have been issued in the first place. A key to controlling NPE litigation is addressing the conflicting patent needs of these two important industries.
- Keep the cost of post-grant proceedings low at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
- Crack down on abusive demand letters – allow the FTC to target companies that send out letters calling for licensing fees for patents even when they’re not using the technology themselves
- Get rid of USPTO fee diversion so as to improve the timeliness and quality of patents
- Study the impacts of patents on startups and small businesses
The Pharma people generally file patent applications and then publish. Their work is available to the public and to build upon. Pharma people generally study the prior art. This minimizes repetition of already known work and avoids infringement issues. Software people tend not to look at prior art and not to disclose what they have done. This behavior is what the patent system tries to discourage.
The idea of publicly disclosing work is not unique to life sciences. Bell Labs followed this procedure
with the transistor. See 8 JMRIPL 80 (2008).
Note that the medcitynews post mentions the STRONG bill of Senator Coons, but does not mention the a Goodlatte Innovation Act.