01.26.17

Matt Levy (Computer and Communications Industry Association) Welcomes Michelle Lee as USPTO Director

Posted in America, Patents at 7:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

USPTO panel

Summary: More of the same, i.e. elimination of patent trolls, welcomed by “Patent Progress”, a site owned and run by CCIA

THE USPTO has made progress, as in “Patent Progress”, since AIA (signed almost 6 years ago).

3 years ago CCIA told Michelle Lee about patent trolls — a problem she has been tackling (quite successfully in fact!) since. Right now a lot of the patent microcosm is attacking Michelle Lee (e.g. see what Watchtroll did in article form and tweet form) , so we wish to remind her that people who are technologists — not law firms — are behind her. Matt Levy published the following 2 days ago, under the headline “Why It’s a Good Thing If Michelle Lee Stays at USPTO”:

Well, this would be a nice surprise: it seems that Michelle Lee may be staying on as Director of the US Patent & Trademark Office. Director Lee has done a great job for businesses and innovators over the last few years.

Perhaps her most important contribution has been her recognition that the USPTO issued a lot of bad patents over the previous couple of decades, and that too many of those bad patents have been ammunition for patent trolls.

Patent troll litigation has exploded in the 21st Century. Even though there were fewer troll suits filed in 2016, there were still nearly 3,000 companies sued by patent trolls last year. Research shows that patent trolls typically use older patents; this means that a bad patent issued today might cause harm 10 or 15 years from now in the hands of a patent troll.

In short, bad patents can have real world consequences, many years after the USPTO was involved. It’s important to improve the examination process to improve the quality of patents issuing from the Office.

There are still mixed messages about whether Lee stays or not. We are waiting for an official confirmation and eagerly anticipate this year’s SCOTUS ruling against the status of the Eastern District of Texas, which we’ll write about separately later today.

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