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New Patent "Reform" Seems to Encourage Patent Trolling

by on09 September 2011 2292 times

17It is a sad day when our lawmakers call a bill designed to trample innovation “reform”, but this is what has happened with the latest version of the “America Invents” act. The new bill has just passed the Senate and is expected to be signed into Law by President Obama in the near future. Now you might be wondering what I am talking about with this new bill. The new bill sponsored by Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy has been lobbied for by the big corporations like Microsoft, Apple and others that tend to use concept patents as weapons to stifle competition instead of real and working inventions. These same companies also tend to “borrow” ideas, names and concepts from different places (like Apples use of the name iPhone which was owned by Cisco at the time).  

What Apple and others have asked for (and gotten) is a change from first-to-invent to first-to-file. Basically what is happening here is that you do not actually have to produce anything anymore. All you have to have is a mountain of lawyers that can force any “concept” you want through the patent office.  On top of all of that they have gotten a flat fee for Patents (although the fee is not actually known yet) which (so far) the Patent Office will get most of. However, that could change as Congress has a way of dipping into this money (having diverted about $900 Million in the last couple of years).  They did tack on a review process for people to dispute patent that have been granted, but the time window for this is only 90 days from the date it is granted. Really the window should be more like one year, but that will never happen.  There were some attempts to make this a real reform bill; some were asking for an outright ban on any diversion of funds, but the Bill’s sponsor said that anything like that would make the bill unlikely to pass (which shows you where some minds in Congress are). Some members of Congress are crowing as if they have just made sweeping reform when all they have done is encourage patent trolling.  

Source PCWold

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Last modified on 09 September 2011
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