Patent Troll Bills Split Innovation Community

“‘Innovation’ is among the most highly prized civic and commercial virtues today. So much so that opposing sides in policy contests each claim its mantle,” writes Drew Clark. “Nowhere is this truer than in now-bubbling debate on Capitol Hill in Washington over patent reform.”

“And the divisions aren’t based on political party. In the Senate, the co-sponsors of the bipartisan PATENT Act are deep-red Republicans Orrin Hatch of Utah and Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and dark-blue Democrats Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Chuck Schumer of New York… The bills’ target is that frequently derided species known as the ‘patent troll’: those who use a bogus claim and impose a litigation toll on an innocent entrepreneur going about creating jobs and driving economic prosperity.”

“Instead of being divided by party, or even squarely by industry, supporters of these two measures, and their opponents, pit one view of ‘innovation’ against another. On the one hand are those Silicon Valley companies constantly making and remaking the tools of the digital economy. On the other hand are inventors who use intellectual property as an asset and license the manufacture of their patented devices to others.”

1 Comment

  1. The real problem is not that there are “patent trolls” out there, but that the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grants patents when a more rigorous examination would reveal that something for which a patent claim is made is (1) obvious in light of the then current state of the art, (2) not a new invention, or (3) cannot be produced in light of then existing technology.

    If Congress truly were interested in preventing the issuance of bogus patents with overly broad claims, Congress would provide additional funding to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in order to enable USPTO to hire enough patent examiners with the appropriate qualifications. Reducing caseloads by hiring additional capable examiners would enable each examiner to spend the time necessary to conduct a thorough literature search and conduct a rigorous analysis of a patent application and each of its claims.

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