Saturday, February 16, 2008

Yost on patent reform

Brian K. Yost includes the text:

Broken Force and Dollar Force suggest patents are too easy to get and too easy to enforce. Intangible assets, including patents, now make up a majority of U.S. companies’ total assets. Protecting these assets is expensive. Microsoft claims to spend close to $100 million annually defending patent infringement claims. Why is Microsoft having to defend so many claims, and why does it cost so much?

Companies such as Microsoft must tread through a thicket of so-called “dubious patents” with each new product introduction. Along the way, they are sometimes sued. It would be far simpler for such companies to drive their herds of new products through an open range without fear of trespassing upon the property of others. Consider, however, a “bad patent” may actually be the carefully manicured picket fence and lawn constructed by its owner as protection and reward for the years of hard work and research that went into obtaining the patent.

To eliminate “bad patents” and at the urging of computer technology behemoths Microsoft and Cisco, the Supreme Court, in April 2007, changed the analysis by which courts and the Patent Office evaluate whether an invention is novel and non-obvious, replacing the previous relatively objective standard with a subjective “common sense” standard.

The allegation of "bad patents" originates from the Quillen / Webster work, which is simply wrong.

Yost concludes:

Wholesale changes made in response to isolated incidents in the name of innovation, however, weaken our patent system and result in the denial of patent freedoms and the oppression of innovation — the opposite of what patent reformists intend. Reformists should consider minor, but important changes, rather than indiscriminate changes. The Cousins of Change can work effectively with a chisel rather than a sledgehammer.

IPBiz adds, and no "plagiarism with pride"!


See Patent Reform Losing Steam in Senate

See Eileen McDermott at Managing Intellectual Property on "As Patent Reform Heats Up..." discussing the recent BIO report by
Mills and Tereskerz.

See Filewrapper Patent Reform Act of 2007 scheduled for consideration this month


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