Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Leckrone criticizes patent reform efforts

Making reference to recent work by Pat Choate on patent reform, Dan Leckrone has an opinion piece in the SP Chronicle criticizing the efforts of the Coalition for Patent Fairness:

The self-styled Coalition for Patent Fairness ( continues to be well funded by high-tech Goliaths seeking to force passage of this act. Financial information for Apple, Cisco, Dell, HP, Intel, Micron and Oracle, reveal that these Goliaths are not as burdened with patent litigation costs/awards as the coalition claims. In fact, the seven Goliaths paid out 1/19th of 1 percent (0.11 percent) of their revenues in patent awards during the 11 years between 1996 and 2006, according to Pat Choate, an economist and author on manufacturing policy.

Leckrone also noted:

It is ironic that these companies now seek to weaken the very patent system that enabled them to achieve their growth and stature by protecting their intellectual property from infringement. Clearly, innovation from smaller companies represents real competition to the Goliaths, and our patent system has proved effective in leveling the playing field.

MEANWHILE, an editorial in the Mercury-News titled Patent reform crucial to valley, begins with the words:

It's no secret that the U.S. patent system is dysfunctional.

IPBiz notes that it is no secret that reformers have not been "telling it like it is" in making comments about the patent system. The reformers assert high patent grant rates using a methodology that allows the grant rate to exceed 100%. It's no secret that the reformers are dysfunctional.

The Mercury News also said:

An administrative process would be created within the Patent and Trademark Office for hearing and deciding challenges to patents, offering a potentially cheaper and more effective alternative to going to court.

The patent reforms now in Congress take major steps in the right direction. Congress needs to keep working through the details and balancing the competing interests to come up with a fair system that fosters true innovation and technological progress. Nothing less than U.S. competitiveness depends on it.

Post-grant review in the form of oppositions is MORE EXPENSIVE than the re-examination system currently in place. Oppositions are NOT "potentially cheaper" than re-examinations. As a stripped down version of litigation, they are not more effective than going to court. HOWEVER, they will be effective for use by larger company defendants against smaller company patent holders.



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