House Passes Major Patent Reform

by Kurt Cagle

On Sept. 7, the US House of Representatives passed sweeping legislation to overhaul the US patent system by a vote of 220 to 175. The Patent Reform Act of 2007 (H.R. 1908), authored by Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., seeks to try to restore some balance to the patent system in the face of radical changes in information technology by introducing a number of changes increasingly sought by the software industry in particular:

6 Comments

Michael Anderson
2007-09-09 11:25:55
Are IBM and Google patent vultures when they buy up patents from defunct companies or ones who do not have the resources to commercialize them?


Your perjorative use of language indicates your lack of orginal research; but I guess your re-writing press releases provided by the same people who bought and paid for this legislation.


Perhaps you should check who else is opposed to this legislation--independent inventors, association of patent examiners, AFL-CIO, Nat. Assoc. of Manufacturers, and a coaltiion of small to mid-sized technology companies.

Michael Anderson
2007-09-09 11:26:06
Are IBM and Google patent vultures when they buy up patents from defunct companies or ones who do not have the resources to commercialize them?


Your perjorative use of language indicates your lack of orginal research; but I guess your re-writing press releases provided by the same people who bought and paid for this legislation.


Perhaps you should check who else is opposed to this legislation--independent inventors, association of patent examiners, AFL-CIO, Nat. Assoc. of Manufacturers, and a coaltiion of small to mid-sized technology companies.

Michael Anderson
2007-09-09 11:26:15
Are IBM and Google patent vultures when they buy up patents from defunct companies or ones who do not have the resources to commercialize them?


Your perjorative use of language indicates your lack of orginal research; but I guess your re-writing press releases provided by the same people who bought and paid for this legislation.


Perhaps you should check who else is opposed to this legislation--independent inventors, association of patent examiners, AFL-CIO, Nat. Assoc. of Manufacturers, and a coaltiion of small to mid-sized technology companies.

Kurt Cagle
2007-09-09 11:58:18
Michael,


Mea culpa. I'd tried pulling information from several different sources on this, but given how recent the vote was, its perhaps surprising that critical information wasn't there.


In response to your questions - my basic belief is that patents are generally destructive to the software industry, and that an abolishment of the patent system would be a very good thing in general. Patents were originally developed to protect not the inventors themselves but the investors in the inventions being created; in those cases where the inventors were the primary investors, this made sense. Now, on the other hand, the inventors are generally mid-level engineers or software developers who get an hourly wage and who often tend to see a comparatively small amount of return for their patents. Instead, such patents are bought and sold like any other fiscal instrument, and the current patent holders are as likely to NOT be the originating inventor.


The problem that I see is that patents ARE lucrative to the investors, and as such a complete abolishment of the system impacts those people hard. They provide localized monopolies in certain sectors such as pharmaceuticals, significantly reducing competition in those sectors; I've heard the arguments more than once about the costs of developing specific drugs, yet on the flip side, the profit margins on those drugs are huge and growing, one of the reasons fueling a health care crisis in the US.


This legislation is not perfect by any means, and it is likely to be shot down by Bush largely because of his own ties to the pharmaceutical industry. This is unfortunate, because the patent system badly needs even the baby step reforms that this bill introduces.


I would be interested, however, in showcasing the other side of this issue - can you post a link to sites that oppose this legislation?


-- Kurt

len
2007-09-10 05:57:00
The main problem will be 'first to file'.


1) A possible avalanche of patents relying on the inability of the patent office to perform due diligence can result.


2) The worse outcome will be the stifling of open list conversations about research topics. The problem of the lurkers who harvest these and file patents for startups with little to show but the paperwork will get worse. The need to move these conversations under consortia with umbrella participation agreements becomes more evident. Had the HumanML list gone to the web3dc instead of OASIS, that application for a patent on 'emotion engines for situated agents' could have been stopped at the gate. Even if the new system enables post-facto exams, they won't have the weight of the filing.


Be careful what you rish for.

Ronald J. Riley
2007-12-15 11:16:30
Subject: Politics-L (Patent Reform discussion group)


On behalf of Ron Riley (piausa.org) this is to inform you that two days ago in an online tele-conference two sides of the patent reform debate; namely (a) Corning Inc; AJW Group; attorneys representing corps/manufacturers; lobby groups; the "21st Century Patent Reform Coalition"; Innovation Alliance; Amberwave etc versus (b) www.piausa.org; inventors; inventor group principals all agreed to participate in a joint discussion to be set up and administrated by www.piausa.org originating in the formation of Politics-L.

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