Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Financial Times weighs in on Metabolite

"With [Metabolite] and a handful of other cases this term and next, the justices are poised to step into a furious controversy over the US patent system, which is criticised both for granting too many, often poor-quality, patents, and for encouraging ruinously costly litigation.

Congressional attempts to rewrite the patent laws have foundered, leaving the Supreme Court to try to create a better balance between competition and innovation in the patent field."

The Financial Times then leaves one hanging as to the likely outcome:

“The case has the potential to be one of the most significant patent decisions of all time,” writes Craig Steven Jepson, a patent expert at Franklin Pierce Law Center, who filed a brief in the case.

But other patent experts say the case is not a good vehicle for deciding larger questions about patentability, and some predict the court might dismiss the case without deciding it.

Given some of the statements of concern about resolving the case on March 21, and given the opposition by the federal government (office of the solicitor), the most likely outcome is that this case will not be decided on the question of "patentable subject matter." Thus, in spite of the efforts of Michael Crichton, the Supreme Court is likely to take a pass on Metabolite. Recall also that Justice Roberts is not involved in the case, having recused himself.

As an aside, one wonders what Crichton would think about the claimed subject matter of Gerald Schatten's cip application published on February 16, 2006?

As another aside, recall the Financial Times' recent discussion of Randell Mills and the hydrino.

Turning to the Wall Street Journal, the publication yesterday (A14) of a lengthy oped by Adam Jaffe and Josh Lerner, titled Innovation and Its Discontents (useful for selling their book, which is plugged at the end) and subheadlined "Our patent system is the enemy of enterprise," leaves no doubt where the Wall Street Journal stands.

The first sentence: The problems of the US patent system are under discussion today with an urgency not seen in decades.


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