On Patent Reform

The Smith Patent Reform Bill has become law:

President Obama today signed into law the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (H.R. 1249) a bipartisan, bicameral bill that updates our patent system to encourage innovation, job creation and economic growth. Both Houses of Congress overwhelmingly supported the proposal, which was sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas). The House of Representatives passed H.R. 1249 by a vote of 304-117 earlier this year. The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 89-9. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) partnered with Chairman Smith on the legislation. Congressman Smith led the House efforts on patent reform for more than six years.

Much-needed reforms to our patent system are long overdue. The last major patent reform was nearly 60 years ago. The House patent reform bill implements a first-inventor-to-file standard for patent approval, creates a post-grant review system to weed out bad patents, and helps the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) address the backlog of patent applications. This bill is supported by local companies as well as many national organizations and businesses.

I’m not sure what to think of this.
On the one hand, this streamlines the patent system, which I begrudgingly support. The first-to-file standard makes resolving multiple claims dead simple: Who got to the patent office first. And weeding out bad patents is also good, especially in light of the standards (distinct, non-obvious, etc.).However, this legislation could very well increase the occurrences of patent-trolling. This would actually discourage invention and innovation in the long run because inventors would more than likely seek to avoid paying royalties to produce their own inventions, so they would have to create modifications to their own product in order to sell them. I imagine this effect would be more prominent among large corporations than among individual inventors because corporations tend to be more susceptible to industrial/commercial espionage.

At the end of the day, though, the simplest and most effective reform is to simply abolish the patent system altogether.There’s little evidence that the costs of the patent system outweigh the benefits thereof.

4 comments to On Patent Reform

  • There is tons of evidence that the costs of the patent system outweigh the benefits. The best way to evaluate that is to look at different countries and how effectively their systems incentivize entrepreneurs and VC’s to invest in innovation.
    Your position is a subset of Anarcho-capitalism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcho-capitalism which is a theoretical fantasy-land similar to the ones that Mao and Stalin tried to create. It was not as good in practice as it was in theory.

  • step back

    I think you meant to say “are outweighed”
    The message posted above says the opposite of what you apparently intended

  • step back

    On the one hand, this streamlines the patent system …


    It is one thing to understand and another to simply parrot the lies of those who treat the populace like a bunch of bird brains.

    There is nothing “streamlining” about the new patent law except that its first effect will be to “streamline” the wallets of start ups and inventors by depleting those wallets of another 15% of cash they didn’t have in the first place.

    In fact, the new law “complexifies” the process by adding all sorts of additional reviews and excuses for denying inventors the rights which the US Constitution says should be “secured” to them.

    This new law de-secures them and is therefore Un-Constitutuional.

    But then again, your best here seems to be that of parroting whatever our Command-Err in Chief speechifies off his teleprompter

  • step back

    simplest and most effective reform is to simply abolish the patent system altogether


    This grand experiment has been tried with great success in many countries, like Stalin’s FSU for example. The grand experiment continues in places like North Korea where comrades are “free” to copy each other’s ideas without worry about some stupid property laws, intellectual or otherwise.

    All that I and my good friend James Colbert can say about North Korea is, thank God for such Godless countries which continue to carry forward the banner of freedom from all property laws. What’s yours is mine comrade (and what’s mine is mine). That is the only true road to prosperity for us and our progeny. /sarcasm

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