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03.04.11

The Patent Reform Act is a Joke

Posted in Law, Patents at 11:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Writing a check

Summary: Why the “Patent Reform Act” is a waste of time and hardly a progressive piece of proposed legislation

OVER THE past month or so we wrote almost half a dozen posts about the so-called “Patent Reform Act” [1, 2, 3, 4] (also see Patent Reform Act from 2009 and from 2008), which is pushed by several senators, some more controversial than others. The Computer & Communications Industry Association is against it and TechDirt is sceptical too. As we have emphasised right from the start, this “Patent Reform Act” is not actually trying to address the real problems. Erick Robinson, a Senior Patent Counsel at Red Hat, agrees with this interpretation in his new essay which helps show that the “Patent Reform Act” is not quite what people are led to believe; it’s pointless and hardly a real reform, besides the name. But to use his own words:

Congress has been considering some form of patent reform for several years now, beginning with the Patent Reform Act of 2005. Once again, patent reform in is the air, as the Patent Reform Act of 2011 (the “PRA”) has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and is scheduled to be debated by the full Senate this week. Although full reform of the U.S. patent system is needed for many reasons, the PRA has been watered down to a point that minimizes its usefulness. A thorough discussion of the need for patent reform is left for another day. This article provides a short overview of main provisions of the PRA and concludes by noting some potentially useful provisions in earlier versions of the bill that have been left out of the PRA.

The situation with software patents in the United States is rather messy. The opportunistic law firm mentioned in this new page exploits In Re Bilski to make some more money out of patents:

The Juhasz Law Firm introduced an offering named “virtual link” patent claim defense for corporate holders of software patents that are vulnerable to being challenged or struck down in the wake of the Supreme Court Bilski decision of June 28, 2010.

That’s just who/what patents are for. A law firm invents nothing, it’s just a pile of paper. How about a reform that defangs them along with patent trolls, combined with elimination of patents on thought processes? We’ll carry on this discussion in the next post.

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