Friday, March 30, 2007

House Small Business Committee discusses patent reform

Patents were a topic at a hearing of the House Small Business Committee (Nydia M. Velasquez, D-N.Y, chair) on March 29, 2007, discussed by BusinessWeek.

Rep. Charles Gonzalez, D-Texas, said he sympathized with major technology and pharmaceutical firms that claim to be barraged with sometimes frivolous lawsuits, but noted that they would always have more resources than small businesses to defend and protect patents. IPBiz notes it's usually IT companies complaining about patent trolls.

Of peer-to-patent, IBM Corp., Microsoft Corp., General Electric Co., Hewlett-Packard Co., Oracle Corp. and Red Hat Inc. have funded and agreed to community review of 250 software patent applications. Small businesses and individual inventors also are participating, but some have expressed concerns that they'll be picked apart by the larger firms, USPTO Commissioner John Doll said.

Anne Broache covered the same hearing for CNET and mentioned input from AmberWave (of the recent strained silicon matter):

"We think in fact our patent system is the gold standard in the world," said Brian Lord, general counsel for New Hampshire-based AmberWave Systems, which researches, develops, patents and licenses advanced semiconductor materials technology. The firm, which has 23 employees, recently reached a licensing deal with Intel related to AmberWave patents for strained silicon used in chips.

BusinessWeek had earlier presented opinions by Kappos of IBM. Innovation and Its Discontents co-auther Jaffe had testified before Congress in Feb. 07:


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