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08.06.17

Patents in the US Are Becoming Stronger (Better Quality), But the Patent ‘Industry’ is Trying to Change That

Posted in America, Patents at 10:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

USPTO Director Lee Discusses Importance Of Patent Quality
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Reference: USPTO Director Lee Discusses Importance Of Patent Quality

Summary: The shift to high-quality patents — an ongoing legacy of AIA and subsequent reforms, patent judgments by the Justices etc. — does the US a lot of good, but those who are in the business of litigation are attempting to derail all that progress

THE RESISTANCE to patent reform in the US comes almost exclusively from the patent microcosm, i.e. from those who long benefited from a defunct system flooded by frivolous litigation, bogus patents (now deemed patent-ineligible by courts), and ‘tourism’ in the Eastern District of Texas.

In many ways, technologists derive great pleasure from these developments. It makes them feel somewhat safer over time. But apathy would be misplaced as the patent microcosm still works hard toward regressions and it uses truly nefarious tactics, including the hiring of former officials (buying influence) and firing (or pressure for resignation) of current officials who are sympathetic to reform. We are watching these things closely and reporting as we go along.

“There was hype and people at the top got carried away when they granted patents on things that deserve no monopoly at all. Examiners were receiving incentives to play along in this agenda, but those days are over.”This weekend, linking to a PDF directly from the USPTO, Dennis Crouch says that the “USPTO is very likely to end up spending well more than it collects in fees.”

This post isn’t about the EPO, but we have mentioned similar projections for the EPO (which is running dry in terms of pending work).

“Thanks to Michelle Lee, the Supreme Court, AIA/PTAB etc. there are now far fewer patent lawsuits in the US.”Let’s face it. There was a big patent bubble. There was hype and people at the top got carried away when they granted patents on things that deserve no monopoly at all. Examiners were receiving incentives to play along in this agenda, but those days are over. PTAB, for example, already looms over them; the quality of their work is being assessed and/or reassessed.

Thanks to Michelle Lee, the Supreme Court, AIA/PTAB etc. there are now far fewer patent lawsuits in the US. Bad news for the litigation ‘industry’, no doubt, but good news for those who are busy prototyping, coding, designing, etc. IAM is of course bemoaning this, having been greased up by the litigation ‘industry’ for many years. The other day it said:

The first six months of the year saw a continuing decline in patent litigation in the United States, although the same cannot be said for political developments in June and July

The pressure group known as the US Chamber of Commerce (not government but an aggressive front of corporations which we wrote about many times before; Wikipedia calls it “a business-oriented American lobbying group”) butts in and IAM leaps on its claims, stating in the headline that “Consensus grows that US patent system needs a lifeline” (whose consensus?!).

“He makes the misleading claim that the US was a “global leader of IP protection” when in reality it was a global leader of patent trolls.”These dramatic claims and alarmist tone are only to be expected from IAM and should not be taken seriously as though these are the views of the real industry. Meanwhile, a former Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office decides to publish this piece in The Hill. Is he another one of those paid-for former officials (like David Kappos) or something else? He basically bemoans patent sanity because these people just want lots and lots of patents. He makes the misleading claim that the US was a “global leader of IP protection” when in reality it was a global leader of patent trolls. Not the same thing. “Weakened patent system” is what he complains about in the headline. Really? Weakened? Because it no longer grants or shields very weak patents? Such dishonest inversion of terms was seen and mentioned here before; there’s a whole bill named after it, with the word/acronym “STRONGER” used to described a WEAKER system.

Thankfully, the above author does not claim to be a developer, engineer etc. Michelle Lee actually was one. And her policies suggested so, too. It’s a shame that all the abuse she received from the patent microcosm (publicly and behind the scenes) quite likely led to her departure.

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