Bonum Certa Men Certa

Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is Already Part of Reform (AIA), So Attempts to 'Reform' It May be Efforts to Appease Maximalists and Bullies


Summary: Half a decade after the America Invents Act (AIA) the USPTO announces imminent but unspecified changes to PTAB, putting at risk one of the biggest weapons against software patents (demand for which is growing)

PTAB, as we have noted in about a hundred past posts, is a much-needed improvement to the US patent system. It helps crush software patents, more so since Alice. So why would anyone hate PTAB? Only the predators seem to hate it (see this latest from IAM, the rude attacks from Watchtroll, and recall Dennis Crouch trying to slow it down). Well, the following new item from the USPTO states: [via Dennis Crouch]

At the direction of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Michelle K. Lee, the USPTO is launching an initiative to use nearly five years of historical data and user experiences to further shape and improve Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) trial proceedings, particularly inter partes review proceedings. The purpose of the initiative is to ensure that the proceedings are as effective and fair as possible within the USPTO’s congressional mandate to provide administrative review of the patentability of patent claims after they issue.

Since being created through the passage of the America Invents Act (AIA), PTAB proceedings have significantly changed the patent landscape by providing a faster, cost-efficient quality check on issued patents. Since AIA trials debuted in 2012, the USPTO has continuously looked for ways to improve the proceedings. Over time, we have listened to our stakeholders’ experiences, and we have now compiled data derived from thousands of case filings and dispositions.

MIP said about it that "USPTO announces initiative to examine Patent Trial and Appeal Board procedures including those relating to multiple petitions, motions to amend, claim construction and decisions to institute" (as per pressure from stakeholders).

"Considering the lobby to oust Michelle Lee, there is potential for bad things here."What this will mean in specific/particular terms we do not know yet. It's vague and open-ended. Considering the lobby to oust Michelle Lee, there is potential for bad things here. We'll keep a close eye on this for any developments that may arise.

"Having seen patents used at various companies and been involved in inventing new products," one person told me the other day, "I generally dislike them. My dislike isn't only limited to software patents either. The quaint narrative about rewarding inventors doesn't actually match reality. Often the true inventors names are not even on the patent. And that's even before getting to the issue of trolls.

"I think it was Kropotkin who called patents "the greatest crime against innovation"."

I have friends who say the same thing and some of them have a lot of patents (pressured by employer/s to pursue them), but personally I'm primarily worried about software patents. These happen to be the patents which PTAB very habitually invalidates these days.

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