Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Patent system's problems defy easy solutions

Filed under
Legal

Reliance on the horse was a sign of the "primitive state of the country and of the patent office at the time, where the quickest way to deliver messages around the city of Washington was by a boy on a pony," according to "The Patent Office Pony," by Kenneth W. Dobyns. He also writes that in 1835, the office issued 757 patents.

If only things had stayed so simple. In fiscal 2004, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approved about half of the 376,810 applications it received, according to preliminary data, and it expects a flood of new activity this year. Although the office has raised application fees and hired new examiners, by many accounts the agency is struggling with its workload.

Lawyers, companies, inventors and politicians all agree that the nation's patent system is in desperate need of reform. They cite concerns about proliferating litigation, questionable licenses and a potential decline in American competitiveness. The question is how to reform: For all the complaints, little consensus has emerged on how to fix the system.

In the worst-case scenarios, misguided reform efforts could unleash unintended consequences. For example, proposals to weaken the threat of court injunctions are designed to help defendants and reduce the number of lawsuits--but critics say this so-called reform could actually increase the amount of litigation.

The issue is coming to a head in Washington, where committees in the House and Senate are planning hearings on a host of proposals to change the nation's patent law and how the Patent and Trademark Office operates. The ideas being proposed run a wide gamut, from forcing patent holders to license their inventions to others, to the elimination of software patents altogether.

Full Article.

More in Tux Machines

Sean Michael Kerner on OpenStack

Xubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet - Fabulous

I have to say, Xubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet shattered my expectations. Obliterated them. Overall, I was expecting a distro that would be about as good as its parent. Instead, I got this fine piece of digital machinery, which purrs and meows and growls like a turbo-charged tiger, if this silly metaphor makes any sense. Or is it an analogy? Now, one tiny software glitch, plus one big regression that affects the entire family. That's the sum of my complains. On the plus side, Xubuntu fully supports the hardware, including the tricky UEFI stuff, it's fast, robust, elegant, rich in software and features, simple and fun to use, and it works well with anything I've thrown at it. By far the best distro of this year. I don't give out 10/10 lightly, but I'm inclined to do that right now, even though the few tiny problems we've had prevent me from doing that. However, the whole package reminds me of Fuduntu, really. Pure and simple and just good. 9.99999/10. Try it, you won't be disappointed. We're done here. Read more

Akanda Pledges to Keep SDN Tech for OpenStack Open-Source

Rosendahl emphasized that Akanda was born as open-source software and will remain open-source. From a commercial perspective what Akanda provides to enterprises is support and professional services. Read more

A New Firefox OS phone

Last Monday, I bought the phone anyway. I must say that I am very pleased by its performance and very cheap price. One can swap the SIM card to use the phone with another carrier here, too. Read more