Monday, October 01, 2007

Vindu Goel is confused on patent reform

Commentary by Vindu Goel of the San Jose Mercury-News on patent reform was savaged by commenters.

Goel parrots Jaffe and Lerner: Unfortunately, the system is broken, threatening the valley's magic formula, which is based on combining old and new ideas into something that no one ever thought of before.

Goel parrots Quillen and Webster: inexperienced examiners at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office hand out too many dubious patents

Goel parrots the party line of the IT industry: At the urging of big technology firms like Cisco Systems, Microsoft and Intel, the House has passed a pretty decent package of reforms. But pharmaceutical companies and smaller tech companies have raised objections, and a battle is brewing in the Senate over the details.

Goel is inconsistent within his own commentary. For example, although Goel says:
Everyone needs more certainty about whether a patent is valid, Goel then advocates post-grant review, which will create LESS certainty about whether a patent is valid ("a new appeals process that tries to resolve disputes within the patent office instead of the courts")

Goel apparently is unaware of Rule 99: The proposed legislation ... allows outside parties to submit information

Goel goes after the CAFC: More fundamentally, lawmakers need to act - or the Supreme Court will act for them. The nine justices are so concerned about the current system that they have been overturning lower-court patent rulings left and right.

That's a scattershot way to fix things. Congress can do better than that.

For an alternative to Goel's rather confused view, see
Getting the Patent Reform Wars on Track

See also
Biotech Drugs Change the Patent Game

Barfield and Calfee argue that "there is little urgency for sweeping, drastic legislative action." Seemingly innocuous adjustments in patent law have had adverse unintended consequences. On the other hand, self-correcting forces have curtailed the most serious threats to efficient patenting. Nonetheless, "limited changes aimed at making the granting and litigation of biotechnology patents and patents in other technology sectors more efficient could strengthen the patent system and foster greater innovation." The patent process must be reformed cautiously, for Congress's decision could change patent-based industries considerably.

On Quillen and Webster, see footnote 262 of Sarnoff article on Bilcare and KSR.


Blogger Lawrence B. Ebert said...

As of Oct. 5, 2007, the comments on Goel's article have been REMOVED, although the Goel article is intact.

8:20 AM  

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