Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Patent reform: it's about the money, stupid

An important issue in patent reform is that of damages. Eagle Forum wrote:

This Patent Act would make it cheaper for infringers to steal patented inventions by limiting damages to the patent's "specific contribution over the prior art" — an unworkable test that would result in artificially low damages awards and increased litigation costs. Because damages are often the only remedy available to a small inventor, this ill-advised provision will decrease the value of patent property rights and undermine the ability of small firms to fend off large infringers.

See also “Reform” of Patent Damages: S. 1145 and H.R. 1908 and The economic implications of patent reform. Additionally, Robert A. Matthews, Jr., Examining the FTC’s 2003 Proposed Reforms to U.S. Patent Law in View of the Present Legal Landscape, 9 Va. J.L. & Tech. 11 (2004)

Note the IPBiz post: Patent reform. Leahy/Hatch credibility on the line.["The most difficult issue to try and get resolution on is damages," said Gary Griswold, chairman of the Coalition for 21st Century Patent Reform. "We are concerned there will be a reduction in the size of damages that can be awarded."

Of post-grant review, Eagle Forum wrote:

the Patent Act would create something called post-grant review, a process that would make it far easier for patent infringers to invalidate a patent anytime after it is issued, thereby making the inventor's property rights vulnerable and reducing his ability to attract venture capital. The big winners again would be the multinationals with lots of lawyers.

IPBiz would suggest that the issue would be harassment of inventors, by imposition of additional economic burden, of costs for defending valid patents. Again, it's about the money. The creation of a procedure for big guys to impose costs on little guys. The big guys pay less for an opposition (post-grant review) than for litigation, but it's all too much for the little guys.
Too much for most universities, too.


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