Monday, October 15, 2007

Huntsville Times on patent issues

BRIAN LAWSON of the Huntsville Times states that the USPTO has a backlog of 760,000 unexamined patent applications.

Of employment issues:

[John] Doll said the patent office is working harder to retain workers in the first four years, when they are learning the ropes. Doll said the office has found if they can keep the worker for the first four years, they tend to stay on the job.

Patent Examiners receive a 10 percent higher rate of pay than other government employees in the same civil service grade, Doll said, and in the first four years workers are given recruitment and retention bonuses.

Of patent reform:

The Senate has not yet voted on the current patent reform legislation. U.S. Rep. Bud Cramer, D-Huntsville, opposed it in the U.S. House, arguing that it was not in the interests of the Huntsville biotechnology community.

Critics of the measure argue it favors larger entities who are able to get to the patent office faster if the first to file standard is adopted and makes it tougher for smaller inventors to defend their patents against infringement.

Supporters of the measure "first to file" would simplify the patent system and harmonize the U.S. system with other countries. Other changes would limit the scope of litigation and require publishing information, often before patents are secured, and a much larger patent search process would be required before the filing.


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