Monday, June 25, 2007

Salt Lake City Tribune commentary blasts patent reform legislation

In a Tribune commentary of June 25, one has text

The United States Congress is presently considering the Patent Reform Act of 2007. This complex legislation is the culmination of five years of work by a group of large technology companies, Microsoft, IBM, Intel and Cisco chief among them.

On post-grant review:

This process, called post-grant opposition, is comparable to someone desiring to buy your house. If you don't want to sell or the would-be purchaser doesn't like the price you're asking, the buyer sues you, claiming you don't really own your home and asks to live in your house for nothing. After you paid your lawyer to prove that you really own your house twice, three times or 10 times, you might get a little mad.

On first-to-file:

The next problem is simpler to describe. This provision says that the first person to file a patent application owns the patent even if someone else created the invention first. If this proposal becomes law, you could work for years to develop the world's best mousetrap, then when your nosey neighbor wandered into your garage and saw it, he could file a patent application and own the patent on your mousetrap.
There are many other provisions in the Patent Reform Act, but the idea behind most is the same - radically weaken our patent protection to benefit a few influential patent infringers.

The text of the editorial/commentary was written by David Vandagriff of Helius, Inc., located in Lindon, Utah.

Separately, Goldie Blumenstyk writes in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Without some adjustments, the institutions and companies argue, the new [proposed] laws will undermine the value of patents and "hinder innovation across the diverse sectors of the American economy we represent." (...) Universities and companies say they fear such a system [post-grant opposition], as now designed in the legislation, would allow third parties to "harass the patent holder" and create too much uncertainty about the value of an issued patent.

Meanwhile, at wired, Luke O'Brien wrote:

While the committee unanimously approved picayune revisions to the bill, the more contentious issues were shelved for further debate, giving the tech and pharma lobbies yet another opportunity to splatter themselves and any legislator in range with heavy bluster.

[The S. 1145 bill might be here.]

IPBiz notes a comment below suggesting that the Salt Lake City Tribune may have praised Senator Hatch (and the IT biggies) previously.

Of strange events in patent reform, IPBiz notes that the USPTO, in formulating its argument to limit continuing applications, cited the WRONG page of the Lemley/Moore article "Ending Abuse...", much as Beth Noveck identified the wrong patent on page 144 of Jaffe and Lerner's Innovation and Its Discontents (hardly a strong endorsement of peer-to-patent!)

IPBiz notes the second comment below. At the time of the initial IPBiz posting, the sltrib website denoted the material as an "editorial", even though the explicitly denoted authorship by David Vandagriff suggested the piece was what would be considered an op-ed. On revisiting the website, there is no mention that this is an editorial, AND the piece seems to be grouped under "commentaries." The heading of the IPBiz post has been changed to reflect this. Of the second comment below, IPBiz had covered the earlier piece by the other Utah CEO (Micron) with a different point of view on patent reform.


Blogger fizteh said...

Isn't it the same paper that used to publish a full-page advertisement paid for by Intel, Cisco, MS and other big tech bullies thanking Sen. Hatch for all of his hard "work" on so-called "patent reform" ?

This is a shameless country indeed...

6:49 AM  
Blogger David V. said...

I won't defend everything that the Salt Lake Tribune does, but the article mentioned in the post was an Op-Ed, not an editorial. (Not always as easy to distinguish online as on paper).

On November 25, 2006, the Trib published an Op-Ed by the CEO of Micron (a big supporter of patent reform) entitled "Sen. Hatch deserves our thanks for patent reform bill".

I can't find anywhere that the Trib has written an editorial that opines one way or the other on patent reform.

BTW, I wrote today's Op-Ed.

12:21 PM  

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