Friday, October 13, 2006

Challenges to WARF patents illustrate need for patent reform

Grady Frenchick in an article WARF challenges show need for patent reform made three points about patent reform:

First, provide for balanced, rapid patent challenges at the PTO, relying on published materials rather than court-manufactured evidence challenges. The current court processes, however, are unwieldy, time-consuming, and costly to all involved. Administrative processes should exist for legitimate patent challenges.
Less weighted on the side of the patent holder is the relatively new PTO inter partes challenge, or inter partes re-examination request, which allows greater participation by the challenging party. It is the basis of the challenge to a third WARF stem cell patent. Should the PTO determine the inter partes challenge to the WARF stem cell patent has merit, the challenger - in this case the Foundation for Taxpayers and Consumer Rights of Santa Monica, Calif. - will be allowed to counter with its own papers each time WARF files a document at the PTO.
Reform number two: Completely exterminate so-called patent trolls. Patent trolls are patent litigation entrepreneurs who regularly use weaknesses in the system to bilk legitimate businesses out of millions of dollars. Many cases brought by trolls, such as the eBay patent litigation, other e-commerce patent disputes, and the $614 million Blackberry dispute are settled out-of-court simply because it is cheaper and less risky than undertaking lengthy court litigation. [IPBiz note: the eBay case has not settled.]

Reform number three: Give the PTO the resources to get the job done quickly and efficiently. The office needs at least half again as many examiners and associated resources as it currently has. Technology, which grows geometrically, has been outstripping the agency's ability to process patent applications.
[IPBiz note: what about resources to RETAIN current examiners?]

IPBiz has discussed substantive issues in the re-exam requests as to the WARF patents.


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