A decade-old bill that is referred to as an almost complete overhaul of the current U.S patent system is expected to receive final congressional passage this month, the WSJ reports, and there are mixed reviews.
Here’s the extract:
The bill, which passed a key Senate vote Tuesday and is expected to get President Barack Obama’s signature, will reverse centuries of U.S. patent policy by awarding patents to inventors who are “first to file” their invention with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Currently the “first to invent” principle reigns, which often spawns costly litigation between dueling inventors.
There are two very different sides to the coin in this case. First there are the big companies with thousands of patents under their belt, constantly filing new ones, and they would like to get the whole process done as fast and as cheaply as possible. Cheap means avoiding legal disputes, something the new bill will obviously contribute towards. Intel and Intellectual Ventures, one of the biggest (and most notorious) patent portfolio firms in the tech world are two of the companies that support the bill.
The flip side of the coin concerns the startups and entrepreneurs, and all smaller-scale innovators for that matter. They may not be able to afford this process. Further, VC Raymond Damadian said that this may even increase the risk of inventions being stolen from startups that are demonstrating them to potential investors.
The bill includes a program to make it easier for small scale innovators to file their patents, but the topic remains heated. One thing is clear though – if given the green light, the new bill will affect a lot of the patent clashes we’ve been covering recently. One example is the lengthy court battle between Oracle and Google, which recently took a serious turn. Patents are particularly affecting the mobile industry right now, and as homegrown business receives a revived dose of attention from lawmakers, patent reform is an imminent part of America’s future.