Pass the Patent Reform Act

The current U.S. patent system is broken. It stifles innovation. Congress needs to pass the Patent Reform Act now. Pro or con?

Pro: Give Ingenuity Freer Rein

Ingenuity and innovation have been cornerstones of the American economy from the time Thomas Jefferson issued the first patent.

The Patent Reform Act will preserve America’s longstanding position at the pinnacle of innovation. It will establish a more efficient, streamlined patent system that will improve patent quality and limit unnecessary, counterproductive litigation costs, while making sure no party’s access to court is denied.

It has been more than 50 years since Congress significantly updated the patent system. Since then our economy has changed dramatically. No longer is the economy defined only by assembly lines and brick-and-mortar production. In the Information Age, the products and processes that are being patented are outpacing the ability of the patent system to cope.

A patent system developed for a 1952 economy needs to be reconsidered for 21st century realities, while staying true to our constitutional imperative. The patent laws that were sufficiently robust for promoting innovation and economic development are now actually impeding growth, harming innovators, and raising prices on consumers.

The Patent Reform Act promotes innovation and will strengthen our economy. Congress cannot afford to sit by while innovation is held back by outdated laws.

Patent reform is about economic development. It is about American jobs, it is about innovation, and it is about consumers. We need a system that produces high-quality patents, limits counterproductive litigation over those patents, and makes the system more streamlined and efficient.

Now is the time to bolster our role as the world leader in innovation. Now is the time to create jobs at home. Now is the time for Congress to act on patent reform.

Con: The Change Would Undermine Fairness

Contrary to its title, the patent legislation now going through the Senate is not reform, but instead changes the law to benefit a narrow sector of the electronics industry, and trial lawyers. It does not maintain protection for the innovators and inventors but instead undermines their position against foreign and domestic infringers.

Two of the most egregious parts of the legislation are a basic change in patent law that has been fundamental to our system since the early days of our Constitution: the first being the principle that the actual inventor of something has the rights of ownership rather than someone who may not have invented it but managed to file for a patent application first.

The second major problem with the legislation is that it dramatically elongates the process of obtaining clear-cut patent rights. It would open up the opportunity for deep-pocketed corporations to challenge a patent even after it has been issued. This never-ending process obviously helps the big guy by making the little guy much more vulnerable. It makes the system even more complicated and even more expensive than it now is.

Large electronics and foreign corporations will be better able to thwart inventors trying to establish and enforce their patent rights, a boon to the infringers and thieves and a disaster for individual inventors and small companies, as well as the universities and the pharmaceutical and the biotech industries.

Opinions and conclusions expressed in the BusinessWeek Debate Room do not necessarily reflect the views of BusinessWeek, BusinessWeek.com, or The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Reader Comments

staff

"Ingenuity and innovation have been cornerstones of the American economy"

The problem is this bill will promote neither. To the contrary, it will strike a fatal blow to those small entities who are far more likely to pull us out of these dire financial woes with market altering inventions.

Please see http://truereform.piausa.org/ for a different/opposing view on patent reform.

Vic Kley

Open Letter to the Judiciary Committees, the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate

The Plight of Individual Inventors

In the past three years all patent applicants have seen a doubling or tripling of costs to prosecute inventions due in large measure to recent court decisions that have emboldened the USPTO to aggressively use obviousness arguments in rejections. These USPTO actions have not found any growth of obvious inventions; instead they have drawn out the patent prosecution process and increased the costs. These costs have fallen most heavily on the smallest entity of all, the individual inventor. [Paid by] a few people or in many cases one individual alone, these costs, along with the present severe recession, promise to curtail or eliminate these small inventors. Yet these are the very inventors who create the Segways, Googles, Blackberrys, and Velcros of the world. It is these smallest of entities that grow new jobs like no other sector of our economy. New inventions coupled with existing advanced technology form the bulk in dollars of our exported goods and services, and create solid jobs and productivity growth for all Americans.

Another major problem is that the patent system treats the struggling small inventor the same as a successful business with hundreds of employees and millions in revenues and profits. A lone inventor with no income pays the same fees as a company with $200,000,000 in revenue and 500 employees. Present patent law says these two entities are deserving of equal treatment as small entities. Please correct this situation.

Please create a new classification of inventor for USPTO fees--the Individual Entity.
The Individual Entity is 1 to 9 persons with annual income of less then $500,000 in 2009 U.S. Dollars. The Individual Entity pays 1/5th the fees charged a small entity for any activity or service of the USPTO. As long as the Individual Entity has not licensed an issued patent to either a small or large entity it shall pay no maintenance fees. To bring truly new and disruptive technology to market can take a decade or more. These special people and inventions need to be nurtured, not taxed out of existence.

Please change 35 U.S.C. 103 by adding, "An invention may not be rejected as obvious if the purpose stated by the inventor is novel to the filing date and necessary as a motivation to assemble elements of prior art, such that no one skilled in the art would have had any reason to associate such elements without the stated purpose."

Please do not charge first to invent, it protects the genuine inventor in those rare cases where injustice might have prevailed.

Please do not make it easy for deep-pocketed corporations or unscrupulous lawyers to tie up and defraud emerging inventions and inventors in post-issuance challenges.

Please take these small steps to modify S 515, and H.R. 1260 to protect one of our most precious economic resources, the individual inventor.

Rusty Mase

As a life-long Democrat, I take strong opposition to the Senator on patent reform. The US patent system was authorized by the Constitution and issued specific rights to American inventors. Therefore it is a citizen's right, not a corporate right. Patent reform legislation is specifically written and carefully negotiated to remove this original intent and to transfer that right to a select group of multinational corporations.

The Senator has taken too much of his time entertaining the pleadings of lobbyists for these corporations and no time listening to American citizens who depend on a robust American patent system. The Senator should simply know better.

As Representative Rohrabacher accurately points out, patent reform includes removing the inventor of a technology from protection granted under the Constitution and replaces it with whoever shows up at the patent office with the completed paperwork. There is no need for this and it is simply ameliorating the lobbying power of select corporations. Take that out of the proposed legislation and it might leave something to negotiate. This is an aspect of "patent harmonization" that many corporations seek in this legislation. This aspect of patents is not a problem the Senator can substantiate, just an attempt to cater our system to mirror that of Europe. So why not demand that those nations recognize the first to invent as the inventor and potential holder of patent rights?

There are other issues, though. Damages are currently determined by a well developed set of prior court cases. There is no need for Congress to redefine this relationship such that damages for patent infringement are minimal and easily predictable.

The Senator is correct, however, concerning patent quality which deserves improvement. This is a function of funding for patent examiners and the infrastructure supporting them. The Senator was previously party to the diversion of funding from the USPTO beginning in the 1990s. This is one point he might address as prior efforts on his part to protect the USPTO from fee diversion would be laudatory. Possibly the Senator could propose giving back these diverted funds.

This is not a partisan issue or a bipartisan issue; it has become a monetary issue, and I take offense that the Senator would transfer rights granted to me as a citizen to a small group of well healed corporations.

It just is not fair and American is about being fair.

Ronald J Riley

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) feeds at the trough of the Piracy Coalition (aka, Coalition for Patent Fairness). The Piracy Coalition promotes Patent Deform.

Leahy and other Piracy Coalition stooges all work to undermine patent protections so that banking, insurance, and tech companies can take the fruits of American ingenuity to low wage countries.

It is long past time that people recognize that American inventors are the bottom of the food chain and that if greedy transnational corporations take their inventions that there is nothing left to support our standard of living.

We have treasonous banks and insurance and tech companies who put their short-term profit above the interests of both our country and the American people. Few people support banking and insurance interests after the damage they have inflicted on us. What tech is trying to do in conjunction with their banking and insurance partners is even more destructive.

America’s independent, academic, and small business inventors account of over thirty percent of domestically filed patents. They create well over ninety percent of jobs. Allowing them to be destroyed by the Piracy Coalition will cement our current economic problems.

The only area that Piracy Coalition members and their legislative stooges are creative In is propaganda rationalizing their lying and cheating conduct. While American inventors are the source of American ingenuity, Piracy Coalition members are parasites that are perfectly willing to change America from the land of opportunity to cement their positions. They talk about innovation but their meaning is quite different from being inventive. When Piracy Coalition members and their agents talk about ingenuity and innovation they are promoting combining others inventions into their products. They are like car thieves running a chop shop. Both rationalize that stealing from others and doing whatever it takes to continue such conduct is normal.

Ronald J. Riley,

Speaking only on my own behalf.
President, PIAUSA
Executive Director, Inventor Ed
Senior Fellow - Patent Policy
President - Alliance for American Innovation
Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel

Perry Mason

I am always amazed at the lack of attention to detail that the honorable Senator Patrick Leahy seems to exhibit. His sweeping statements like the following have me mystified as to their logic and genesis:

"The Patent Reform Act will preserve America’s longstanding position at the pinnacle of innovation. It will establish a more efficient, streamlined patent system that will improve patent quality and limit unnecessary, counterproductive litigation costs, while making sure no party’s access to court is denied."

Litigation has been on the decline in the last few years, and even at its worst, it only represented less than 1/3 of one percent of the information technology giants' profit margin, which can hardly be called a damper on innovation. What will be a damper on innovation, is if Congress passes this attempt at Patent Reform, allowing larger entities with very deep pockets to infringe on validly granted patents for less than a third of their normal "cost of stealing" that is extant today and in the past.

Fortunately the most destructive aspect of this legislation in the form of damages apportionment and prior art subtraction has been taken out of the Senate bill S. 515, but that is only a very slight ray of hope for an independent inventor like me, since almost the whole bill is fatally flawed from the get-go, and will be a major train wreck for independents and the small startup businesses and the new jobs that they create. Perhaps Senator Leahy should keep in mind that 40% of the value of the US economy is represented by intellectual property, and that about 80% of that IP comes from small businesses and inventors, and not by information technology companies.

While I can appreciate Mr. Leahy trying to take care of his IBM constituents, it seems almost treasonous to me that he would willingly sabotage the US patent system to suit the needs of a very few, at the cost of crippling American innovation by destroying much of the value of US patents. The post-grant review provision alone would allow large companies to tie patents up in court for several years at least, at great cost to the legitimate inventor, preventing them from accessing the funding from investors that they need so badly while just getting started with innovative concepts.

This very badly considered attempt at "patent reform" could hardly come at a worse time, as it would cripple much of the ability of the American economy to recover from a historic low point, by denying American inventors of many of their rights to profit from their ingenuity that has made the US the world leader in innovation for nearly 200 years. The patent system doesn't need to be "fixed," Mr. Leahy, so please leave it alone. If you want to help American innovation, fix our demonstrably broken USPTO! Patent pendency is out of control, and there is a backlog of nearly 1 million patent applications, which I happen to think is a disgrace, since the USPTO is one of only about two federal programs that actually pays its own way.

Yours Truly,
Perry Mason

Joan Koerber-Walker

Our current patent process and the resulting costs do more than pose a huge hurdle to inventors and innovators; it can easily bankrupt them.

Small businesses often lack the financial resources for the patent process here at home, not to mention what is required to protect a patent internationally.

According to the SBA, small firms "produce 13 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms; these patents are twice as likely as large firm patents to be among the one percent most cited."

The US invests in small business innovation through the SBIR program yet does nothing to help these same scientists and inventors to actually protect the resulting inventions.

Perhaps in our New Commitment to Science and Technology, we need to come up with a new program to help fund the protection of the innovations coming from our small business community. We're planning to spend billions on shoring up old infrastructure under the ARRA, but doing nothing to protect the true foundation that we will build our recovery on: American innovation.

Robert K S

The "Pro" position elaborated here is pure rhetoric that has no basis in the language of the Leahy bill (S. 515). The Leahy bill contains no futuristic provision that will somehow make the patent system more "efficient" or "streamlined" nor does it do anything to "promote innovation" or "strengthen our economy" (simple deduction, as well as the best available evidence, shows it will do the opposite in both cases). Any patent reform needs to be focused on beefing up the Patent Office so that it can deal with its 5-plus year backlog of applications and issue to inventors that which the Constitution entitles them. This bill, instead, is a whopping gift to a tiny number of big-business campaign contributors who, annoyed at being repeatedly found guilty of patent infringement, desire to see the whole problem of patents go away. Weakening the patent system in this way will gravely damage American innovation and irreparably harm the American economy just when we need to be focusing on helping it.

step back

There is a difference between real debate and resorting to mind-twisting rhetoric. Senator Leahy's position paper is all of the latter and far from any semblance of truth telling. Congress has significantly amended the patent laws many times since 1952. So there lies a first of many serious distortions in Leahy's regurgitation of corporate talk points. Like tort "reform," patent "reform" seeks to let wrongdoers go free. It's all about stripping the little guy of last rights and giving the monopolistic members of the so-called "Coalition" for "Fairness (and Balance)" total reign over the technology sector. Innovation is a code word for depriving individual inventors of all chance for success. Quality and efficiency are trick words for making sure that the new global oligarchy reigns supreme even over what used to be the home of the brave and the land of the free. Congressman Rohrabacher tries pleadingly above to speak truth against global power. But what chance does a single Congressman have against the K Street contortionists? So-called "reform" is merely a morally bankrupt and hideous deform in this case. The system is "broken" all right. We have inherited the best Senate that that global money can buy.

John R. Harris

Sen. Leahy is right that patent reform is needed, but the current Patent Reform Action is not the right way. The current bill is the result of lobbying, not considering what is the right way to reform the system.

I have practiced patent law for almost 30 years. I have a pretty good idea where the system is broken. Yes, significant overhaul is needed in many respects. The current reform bill is misguided in a number of respects, mainly in the fact that it puts the "cart before the horse" in failing to address a number of issues in the U.S. Patent Office, before a patent issues. The current bill seems to try to fix things after the patent has issued--which makes it too late and too expensive.

So, Sen. Leahy has the right notion that reform is needed. Rep. Rohrabacher's comments should be well heeded--this bill is not the right reform.

Jodi

Leahy said: "The Patent Reform Act will preserve America's longstanding position at the pinnacle of innovation."

But yet he is looking to make the US patents look more like the Europeans'. As a Canadian, I can point out that the Europeans are no match for the Americans when it comes to true innovations so why would you want to change it.

Leahy said: "It has been more than 50 years since Congress significantly updated the patent system. Since then our economy has changed dramatically. No longer is the economy defined only by assembly lines and brick-and-mortar production. In the Information Age,......A patent system developed for a 1952 economy needs to be reconsidered for 21st century realities, while staying true to our constitutional imperative."

In the Information Age we still have assembly lines. We have computer programmers, testers quality assurance, documentation writers, product managers, project managers, marketing, HR, etc. Building a software product can be considered an assembly line with lots of specialized people all contributing to a final product. It may not be as visible as a Ford automobile moving down the assembly line, but trust me, it's still there.

Leahy said: "The patent laws that were sufficiently robust for promoting innovation and economic development are now actually impeding growth, harming innovators, and raising prices on consumers."

Where is this harm in innovation you speak of? Was Google not able to innovate? Was Microsoft not able to innovate? Was RIM BlackBerry not able to innovate? This is just a sampling of the evidence to the contrary of what you say. Provide some proof to backup your claims.

Leahy said: "The Patent Reform Act promotes innovation and will strengthen our economy. Congress cannot afford to sit by while innovation is held back by outdated laws."

Again no evidence how innovation will be strengthened, and then tied to a call-to-action. Reminds me of tying 9/11 to Iraq.

Leahy said: "Now is the time to bolster our role as the world leader in innovation. Now is the time to create jobs at home. Now is the time for Congress to act on patent reform."

More call-to-action trickery. Seems to me the U.S. system is the best in the world for innovation, so why would anyone want to change this?

Ronald J Riley

Patent Deform is much like Free and Irresponsible Trade. Irresponsible trade policies, written by and for transnational corporations are a huge factor in undermining America's and other countries' economies.

Fairly managed globalization and trade can be good for everyone, but what we have victimizes the peoples of developing and developed countries alike.

Free Trade has been much like free sex in the sixties. Those of us who lived through that time spent the rest of our lives raising the children who came from all that free sex. It was not free. Free trade has not been free and Patent Deform will come with a terrible price.

Free trade is a catchy phrase much like Patent Reform. In both cases, they mean something very different from what the proponents are really promoting.

What Patent Reform really means is giving large transnational companies free rein to pillage American ingenuity. It will give them freedom to put their big corporate foot on the throats of every inventor.

Large companies stole American inventions with impunity from the 1920s through the 1960’s. Not one independent inventor’s patent property rights were enforced during that time. Vested interests had absolute power and the corporate legal culture developed an entitlement mentality during that time.

While inventors suffered, America prospered because at that time those inventions were produced in the US. Today that is not the case. When transnational corporations, especially those who are members of the Coalition for Patent Fairness take inventions they usually ship production to the lowest wage country. This costs America jobs and the prosperity that those inventions would have created. The transnational corporation gets richer while the rest of us become poorer.

When inventors either start companies or collaborate with other small entities to commercialize the invention, their community ties often keep work in their communities.

The reality is that Patent Reform will finish what Free Trade started, impoverishing all Americans. The fact that these transnationals can buy our representatives is outrageous and it is long past time that we toss out the bums who are not representing our interests.

I suggest that we start forming groups to conduct effigy burning demonstrations in home districts and then organize recall of legislators who are willing to kill the American dream for a few pieces of transnational gold.

Ronald J. Riley,

Speaking only on my own behalf.
President - www.PIAUSA.org
Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org
Senior Fellow - www.patentPolicy.org
President - Alliance for American Innovation
Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
Washington, DC

downhill

It has been 66 years since Glass-Steagall was enacted. Since then our industry has changed drastically. Time for change. And we had Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999. Leahy's rhetoric sounds awfully similar. Another American traitor story in the making.

downhill

Big litigation cost? Read this from the Uniloc case's small-fry patentee's lawyer: Microsoft consistently outspent Uniloc and Mintz Levin. "They stayed at the Westin. We stayed at the Marriott," he said. "They rented out the Civic Center as a war room. We had two rooms at the Marriott." Before the jury, Microsoft's lawyer said "Between U.S. $3 million and $7 million would be generous, if the jury were to find infringement." What BigCo attitude. The jury's answer? $388 million. Now Leahy is working on undermining this last defense of the little guys.

downhill

Read the story of X-It and its founder Aldo DiBelardino's story of David versus Goliath. They invented and marketed a great emergency escape ladder. Big company copied. I saw the BigCo's copied product in shops in year 2000. BigCo didn't even bother to change the look. Plain blatant. Complaining "there's the risk that even a weak case could still go to jury and you never know what the jury will do. The jury could award huge damages..." is like whining about killing getting too expensive. Similar to the Mafia logic that the prosecutors, the judges, the witnesses, and the cops should be eliminated when they get in the way. Much of America's innovation is from small companies and universities. Making it cheap to infringe and drag out the cases is to encourage more infringements and discourage the small guys, who will never recover their time and money invested. A less innovative America is not going to be a better place. Make infringement damage small and predictable encourages intentional infringements. To BigCo's CEOs, infringement damage becomes part of regular business expense. Samsung's quarterly profit routinely in the billions, even a $500 million damage award would be but a blip. And if the damage awards is capped below say $100 million, its a spare change. To Americans, you will be deprived of future X--it's and their innovation. It is precisely this "unpredictable" and "large" penalty meted out by the jury, who are unbiased common individuals holding no interest in either side, that make BigCo CEOs hesitate. Vitiate the America patent system, and you will also invite a flood of infringing products on-shore from copy-havens like China. As to USPTO's backlog, a solution is to reduce examiner turnover by reducing the case load per examiner, by hiring more examiners. An examiner's work, disposing on average two cases a day, is a lot more stress than an engineer's. Pay for the increased head count by higher examining fees. USPTO charges a small fraction of Europe patent office does, whereas its issued patents have the highest values: Big pharmas alone make tens of billions a year on patented drugs. Bring USPTO filing, search, and exam fees (current less than $1,000) inline with Europe (about $2,800) for the BigCo's, who brought this flood yet blame the patent laws and procedures. Use the extra revenue to attract and increase examiners. Reduce examiner load and get better exam quality. The top 35 US patent recipients in 2008? IBM, Samsung, Canon, Microsoft, Matsushita, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Sony, HP, Hitachi, Micron, Seiko, GE, Fujifilm, Ricoh, Infineon, LG, TI, Honda, which total about 40,000 patents. These are the guys who flood the patent office with applications. They pay patent attorney $20,000 to do and prosecute one, and the patent office a small fraction to examine. The solution is clear. Do not let anyone use the USPTO's backlog as an excuse to bring in the Trojan horse. Do not abet the wrongdoers by capping penalties. Do not invite a flood of copy-products from copy-havens like China. Do not replay the repeal of Glass-Steagall on the American technology industry.

step back

What Ron Riley said.

"Reform" is about ripping away from employed and unemployed individual inventors the last vestiges of a right to be compensated for work well done.

Reform is about flattening the world (HARM-my-nation) and turning all of us into slaves of the transnational Big Brother.

Paul Wilke

Beware when congress names something. The name often never matches the content.

Big business has been stealing patents and paying huge salaries to coporate leaders.

The patent owner often has to give up half of his ownership to a person with deep pockets to fight for what rightfully belongs to him.

This Patent Reform Act is greatly flawed and will let big business steal ideas from patent holder 'for the good of all.'

What's good for big business is not good for the USA. We need to protect individual rights. Power corrupts. Look how big business killed our ecomony while paying themselves billions in bonuses.

Let protect the patent holder and let's push white collar theives.

BIGWEEDS

Folks,
Here we go again where the money people use "improvement" to try and change a system so that they are able to make even more money and to lock out the little guy. The little guy has been the one that has fought for this country forever and ever and continues to get the shaft from the rich and powerful. I am praying that God will correct this problem soon and I bet they will not realize what is happening until it is too late, but they will probably know how much money they have as they head to the bright light.
Regards.

angry dude

This country doesn't need a stinking patent "deform" paid for by big corporate crooks to give a shaft to the little guy

What this country really needs is campaign finance reform to get rid of folks like Leahy in Congress.

Tar and feathers for corporate stooges in U.S. Congress.

AA

As an independent inventor/small business, I am obviously very much against the proposed patent "reform" program. I fear that, as usual, the heavy contributors and manipulators (big business) will get its way with what they describe as patent reform, and that the little guys will be, once again, trampled upon (although there are some big businesses against patent reform, there are far more large entities for it).

Although much has already been said regarding this debate, I propose that those who would be influenced by the promoters of patent reform consider that large corporations have the financial wherewithal to protect themselves within the current patent system (even if they have to address "patent trolls" and all of the other foes that they claim to impede overall commercial progress). On the other hand, the independent inventors and small businesses--the true backbone of American commerce--do not have the financial wherewithal to succeed within the patent reform system that is being proposed. Sound too logical?

Hank Nothhaft

As the CEO of a Silicon Valley semiconductor company, I believe this legislation is bad for the economy, bad for innovation and bad for anybody who believes in fundamental property rights. There's no question it devalues patents. The Senate Judiciary Committee made some improvements to the bill, but we still have concerns about several provisions, namely its provision for reforming post-grant review and its failure to protect the diversion of fees from the U.S. PTO.

In fact, Congress should be spending more energy on improving the PTO. Raising the quality of patents and the speed with which they’re evaluated would be the best and most dramatic step toward strengthening the patent system. It also would address most of the concerns about bad patents and frivolous litigation raised by the Big Tech companies that are pushing this misguided effort.

Roy Malcom

May 7, 2009

To Whom It May Concern:

I believe congress should pass a Patent Reform Act. Antiquated laws compiled with natural disasters have stifled our ability to evolve.

Sincerely,
Roy R. Malcom

Free2012

I am a patent holder and as an individual, I see abuse of power considerably unchecked in this area of enterprise--"it's just business" mentality that leads decisions to infringe--and I have to contend with this as best I can. A litigious infringer of considerable legal and monetary resources has managed to block manufacturing of my products until recently when I secured legal opinions that satisfied one manufacturer for all but the best part of my technologies.

An added complexity in seeking a resolution with this most resistant company infringing 5 of my 7 US Patents is that in critical areas they also managed see their patents issued on essentially the same matter with (clearly) later priority dates and earlier issue dates in part because I prosecuted the patents myself--and by using dissimilar language that obscured "snowing" the USPTO.

Obviously, under the current law the examiner acted correctly in not citing my claims since they had not been allowed yet. But now that my patents are issued, there is no clarity under which manufacturing can firmly proceed without seeking to resolve the apparent controversy in some legal manner.

If I sue, then the infringer's patents are not part of the case unless I can get the judge to accept the importance of resolving the priority and subject matter in the issue of our mutual patents and allow for DJ's on the infringer's patents--this is uncommon, as I understand it, but I see not other way to resolve this without working within the USPTO which is very costly as well.

I don't want to toot my horn too much but its fairly apparent that greater portion of the best ideas are not coming from the large companies. Accordingly, why maintain a social system that favors the rich and powerful when in doing so one undermines the purpose and benefit of the patent system?

Robert

Right now the patent office just allowed someone to patent the breast cancer gene. They didn't invent it, simply discovered the specific gene; yet the US Patent Office allowed them to patent something that has already existed. If this is the case, I would like to file for a patent for heart, lungs...you get the idea.

AA

Robert:

You’re obviously not a small businessman. Regardless of what you may claim, you must work for an IBM or Microsoft type of entity. Remember that small business is the backbone of American enterprise--not big business. No one, absolutely no one, that has a small business is for patent "reform."

Chris

To Ronald J Riley,
Being American is about thriving capitalism. Companies don't and shouldn't care about the jobs here or for that matter anywhere. As long as they are operating legally, companies are ultimately responsible for shareholders, and not Joe Citizens like you. Once American workers start accepting the fact that we are extremely overpriced for any economy, we will come to terms with what businesses really want. At the end of the day, it is those businesses that give us our jobs, not anything else. Once we accept the fact that we don't deserve our exaggerated salaries, we will then think twice before spending $30,000 on cars and $500,000 on houses. It is a vicious cycle. Overpriced cars, overpriced houses, overpriced commodities, and as a result of all of that jazz, Americans feel that we need overpriced jobs. Ultimately, if all these items are available at reasonable prices, I wouldn't mind working for $8 an hour again.

MC

As the recipient of 8 utility patents, 2 design patents, and several trademarks, I am chagrined at the degeneration of the patent process over the last 30 years from most all aspects. I am the "lone inventor." My patents do not "paper walls." They have become real products, that help real people and have put real money in my bank account since 1982. They have built companies, employed people, fed families, and paid lots of taxes. Frankly, I have little hope for the possibility of any equity to be realized by the lone, American inventor in the future. It's not just the overall stifling bureaucracy of the USPTO, or the punitive fees and actions--it is even more basic than that. The caliber of most of today's examiners is... well, pathetic. I spent nearly $22,000 on one application in the late 1990s for a simple device that would have saved many lives in the medical operating room and saved hospitals incredible sums by protecting valuable O.R. equipment. The application ended up at the whim of a young woman with a degree in the social sciences from G.W. University. We gave up. I just could not afford another office action sent to my attorney copied from some internet site she thought related to our plastic substrate. The woman actually thought that all polyurethane plastics were the same. It is a huge family of polymers with a huge number of variable characteristics. This, of course, was only a small component of the device. Her lack of knowledge, however, was simply unbearable from an engineering standpoint. When confronted with such blatant ignorance, there's little point in endeavoring. The society is rotten to the core. The horribly broken, liberalized, unionized U.S. education system (K through PhD) in concert with greedy lawyers and politicians have destroyed the nation. Go read Atlas Shrugged. Ayn was right. It's coming to pass.

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