Patent reform act stirs mixed emotions in science circles

Sep 10, 2011 by Nancy Owano report

(PhysOrg.com) -- The Senate on Thursday approved (by a vote of 89-9) the America Invents Act. The Act is being hailed as a substantial overhaul of the U.S. patent system. The America Invents Act changes the way one can obtain patents to a new "first to file” system replacing the old "first to invent" system. The move is seen as a way to curtail wasteful court disputes where warring parties fight over who invented what first. The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, as it is formally called, is being championed as the answer to what was wrong, for decades, in the patent process.

The first-to-file system positioned by the America Invents Act is praised because it keeps things simple. If you filed for the patent first, you get the patent protection. The idea is to speed the patent process and stimulate innovation.

Supporters also praise the reform because the patent office is to have the authority to set its own fees and have access to money it collects from patent and trademark applicants. The result, they say, is that the office will be better able to hire more patent examiners and upgrade its technology systems.

David Kappos, director of the patent office, said the overhaul was going to give his agency the tools to deliver cutting-edge technologies to the marketplace sooner, drive down the backlog of patent applications, and speed up the issuance of patents "without adding a dime to the deficit."

Washington supporters foresee more spinoffs and in turn more new hires. The Act's supporters say it could create 200,000 jobs.

As vocal as the praise is for this reform, critics have stepped up to complain that the Act will do little good for inventors. Opinion pieces and press statements have cast their shadows over the vote. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has said that the reform will not move any mountains for the kinds of people it represents, small-scale innovators and individuals

Other technology critics voiced similar views, in that detractors felt it is big technology firms that will have unfair advantage to file first. Inventors at large companies that employ patent lawyers can more easily rush to file applications with the U.S. and Trademark Office. Critics also doubt whether the Act will help create as many jobs as is claimed, unless they are counting lawyers too.

A dividing line about the efficacy of patents in supporting innovation, meanwhile, further divides attitudes toward the new America Invents Act. There are strong convictions amongst software developers that development is cumulative, compatibility with existing data formats is essential and collaborative efforts work out best. The public wiki End Software Patents is a case in point."The reform we need is legislation clarifying to the courts that software is not patentable," says the ESP site. Many professionals in biomedical industries, in contrast, say that they need protection from patents to make sure competitors don't feed off their efforts.

A number of academic groups have welcomed the legislation. They think it will help inventors at universities better compete in the global market. That is the thought expressed in a statement from university groups including the Association of American Universities, Association of American Medical Colleges, and the Association of University Technology Managers.

Explore further: Japan orders air bag maker to conduct probe

More information: leahy.senate.gov/press/press_r… C4-82F2-986318A17B6D

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User comments : 33

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sherriffwoody
4.4 / 5 (7) Sep 10, 2011
Inventions happen more than once, both in humanity and nature, first in first served is not a fair system. Its more a richist in richest first system
TheQuietMan
4.5 / 5 (11) Sep 10, 2011
What do you expect from Congress nowdays? We have transitioned from a democracy to a corporate state, where corporations get pretty much what they want (and the peoples interests are no longer represented). The comment concerning software patents is right on mark, and the ability to patent my DNA if it has some unusual feature has always been wrong IMO (whose DNA is it exactly?), but businesses want it so there it is.
Shootist
1.8 / 5 (13) Sep 10, 2011
unanimous? 89-9 is unanimous?

@sherrifwoody

Medical care is a commodity. Medicine is a commodity. You get what you pay for. That is, ultimately, the fairest system possible.

Churchill said, and he is correct, "democracy is the worse form of government possible, except for every other form of government.

The same applies to fee for service medicine. Worse possible outcome, until compared to all other outcomes.

Of course, this hinges on the Aristotelian belief that a successful Republic allows the middle class to hold trappings of wealth in moderation.

Maintaining a Republic requires a Free Market. Trappings of wealth for the middle class, requires a Republic. And fee-for-service medicine will provide the best medical care to the most people. Other systems only provide the best care to the wealthiest, while the middle-class is heaped in with the poor (this is called socialized medicine, btw).
Twin
4 / 5 (5) Sep 10, 2011
@Shootist

(unanimously)
The author must have been using the electoral college system.
omatumr
1.7 / 5 (12) Sep 10, 2011
The idea is to speed the patent process and stimulate innovation.


Sounds great!

So did the 1971 decision to make "Global Climate Change" the common enemy of all nations in order to end the threat of mutual nuclear annihilation, eliminate nationalism and racism, and unite nations.

But the means of implementation were absolutely disastrous for science and for society.

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA Principal
Investigator for Apollo
frajo
4.1 / 5 (10) Sep 10, 2011
You get what you pay for. That is, ultimately, the fairest system possible.
It is not fair as the distribution of (payment) ressources is grossly unfair.

Churchill said, and he is correct, "democracy is the worse form of government possible, except for every other form of government.
Churchill was wrong on that and a lot of other accounts.
His greatest blunder was the implicit suggestion that all really existing forms of democracy are equal.
Nederlander
4.5 / 5 (11) Sep 10, 2011
Professor to student: "yes, you're right, you stupid student, you were first and everybody knows that, I even admit it. But you didn't raise the necessary $10,000 quick enough to file it and I did, so I have the rights over your invention and I will become a millionaire".
Pressure2
5 / 5 (7) Sep 10, 2011

Most of the world no longer lives in a democracy it is more like a Corpocracy. In fact it is fast becoming a feudal monetary system where the rich have all the money and are able to buy most of the political power.
unixserv
5 / 5 (5) Sep 10, 2011
well, since fascism is the fusion of the state with favored corporations i think we've just taken (been forced to take) another huge step toward becoming a fascist state.

this final stage of corporatizing the patent process came from the initial steps taken in the '90s, with the advent of the provisional patent; aka, "the poor man's patent".

before all of this corporate-federal intervention, a notarized, dated description used to be proof enough that your idea belongs to you.

Paperz Pleaz!
omatumr
1.2 / 5 (14) Sep 10, 2011
. . . you didn't raise the necessary $10,000 quick enough to file it and I did, so I have the rights over your invention and I will become a millionaire".


Means of implementation are all important, even for noble of goals!

Who would have guessed in 1971 that the decision to make "Global Climate Change" the common enemy of all nations in order to end the threat of mutual nuclear annihilation, eliminate nationalism and racism, and unite nations, . . .

Would produce consensus misinformation [1-3] forty years later on:

a.) The Evolution of life
b.) Solar neutrino oscillations
c.) The AGW model of Earth's climate
d.) The Big Bang model of the Universe
e.) The SSM model of Earth's heat source
f.) The Nebular model of origin of the Solar System
g.) The Yukawa model of interactions between neutrons and protons

1. http://dl.dropbox...5079.pdf

2. http://journalofc...102.html

3. http://arxiv.org/...2.1499v1

DiverseByDesign
5 / 5 (9) Sep 10, 2011


(unanimously)
The author must have been using the electoral college system.


Exactly right!

They gave the Patent Office the right to charge whatever they want for various fees? And they call this a "better" system? Like everyone has said already, this does nothing but help the rich and the corporations to "file first". Small inventors and the people who come up with the real good ideas will be over-run by the corporate world and those with the money to hire the lawyers. This is the worst "unanimous" vote ever!
avafeas
5 / 5 (5) Sep 10, 2011
Sounds to me like any scientist not affiliated with a major corporation is going to have a hell of a time getting a patent, since they will all be mysteriously "stalled" at the patent office while the corporation scientists magically get theirs in first. Anybody who works in patents can write their own check to personal riches. Sell out! $$!
cmn
4.6 / 5 (5) Sep 10, 2011
Is it a surprise to anybody that a capitalist society favors those with money?
Pressure2
5 / 5 (5) Sep 10, 2011
Is it a surprise to anybody that a capitalist society favors those with money?

Well no, but the sending of millions jobs overseas to increase their profits has created huge trade deficits, about $8 trillion or so in the last 35 years, just might someday be looked upon as economic treason against the US.
Jotaf
4.3 / 5 (3) Sep 10, 2011
And fee-for-service medicine will provide the best medical care to the most people. Other systems only provide the best care to the wealthiest, while the middle-class is heaped in with the poor (this is called socialized medicine, btw).


First, this post is not about medical care. Second, compare life expectancy in Europe, Canada and Australia, with that in the USA. It's a free market for everything except human lives. Sorry, but for us lives are not negotiable.

Back on topic: How do patents help society at large? An innovation can help the world, yet its widespread use is delayed for an arbitrary number of years.

In the hands of a small inventor it's a waste, because he/she usually doesn't have the means to commercialize it to its full potential. In the hands of a corporation, exclusivity means others will be overcharged for the new service/product. What's the point?
Egleton
2.7 / 5 (7) Sep 10, 2011
We Australians are appalled by American medical delivery. It has the hallmarks of savagery.
The purpose of medicine, it's raison d'etre is to aid the infirm. Not to make a profit.
We at http://www.coldfusionnow.org/ are in discussions now about the patent office.
You can find an audio link there.
No matter. We value Realities imprimatur,not some fellow human's.
1Very_Old_Guy
1 / 5 (1) Sep 10, 2011

Most of the world no longer lives in a democracy it is more like a Corpocracy. In fact it is fast becoming a feudal monetary system where the rich have all the money and are able to buy most of the political power.


I guess you know of somewhere in the world where the rich don't have all the money. How does that work....exactly?
Pressure2
5 / 5 (1) Sep 10, 2011

Most of the world no longer lives in a democracy it is more like a Corpocracy. In fact it is fast becoming a feudal monetary system where the rich have all the money and are able to buy most of the political power.


I guess you know of somewhere in the world where the rich don't have all the money. How does that work....exactly?

It works quite well in countries like Canada, Sweden, Germany, France, Australia and even in the US in the 50's and 60's. Nearly all advanced industrial nation can some how afford national health insurance also. It actually saves them money and makes their companies more competitive in the world markets.
Sonhouse
5 / 5 (1) Sep 10, 2011
Is it a surprise to anybody that a capitalist society favors those with money?

Well no, but the sending of millions jobs overseas to increase their profits has created huge trade deficits, about $8 trillion or so in the last 35 years, just might someday be looked upon as economic treason against the US.

Lots of luck with that one.
Pressure2
2 / 5 (4) Sep 10, 2011
Is it a surprise to anybody that a capitalist society favors those with money?

Well no, but the sending of millions jobs overseas to increase their profits has created huge trade deficits, about $8 trillion or so in the last 35 years, just might someday be looked upon as economic treason against the US.

Lots of luck with that one.

You are right, corporations are just doing what they should be doing.

It's the politicians and corporate lobbyist that created these trade deal that should charged with economic treason against the US.
1Very_Old_Guy
1.2 / 5 (5) Sep 10, 2011

Most of the world no longer lives in a democracy it is more like a Corpocracy. In fact it is fast becoming a feudal monetary system where the rich have all the money and are able to buy most of the political power.


I guess you know of somewhere in the world where the rich don't have all the money. How does that work....exactly?

It works quite well in countries like Canada, Sweden, Germany, France, Australia and even in the US in the 50's and 60's. Nearly all advanced industrial nation can some how afford national health insurance also. It actually saves them money and makes their companies more competitive in the world markets.


I can't imagine your source of information. Perhaps, when you're a bit older, you'll see things in a different light.
unknownorgin
5 / 5 (2) Sep 11, 2011
The days of inventing something and notorising it to prove you invented it first are gone and now stealing ideas and rushing to file them will be a big business for some. I want to thank the government for taking away yet another chance for the little guy to be successful.
1Very_Old_Guy
4.5 / 5 (2) Sep 11, 2011
The days of inventing something and notorising it to prove you invented it first are gone and now stealing ideas and rushing to file them will be a big business for some. I want to thank the government for taking away yet another chance for the little guy to be successful.


The "little guy" has been out of it for a long time. My last Patent was issued nearly 30 years ago. I paid a Patent Lawyer $7K for his prep and filing service. 20 years ago I asked my Patent Lawyer what it would cost me to sue someone who infringed. He finally admitted I should expect to pay $100K if it went to court and went smoothly. A Patent is worthless until it's "tested". If I sue someone for infringement and win, it's been "tested". It's value will be influenced by that trial. Dream on about the "little guy", unless he's got real deep pockets, he's screwed before he starts. All the new jobs in this deal are Lawyers.
1Very_Old_Guy
5 / 5 (2) Sep 11, 2011
Many years ago, because of the millions of Patents, the U. S. Patent Office kind of gave up on being the final authority regarding new (or old) Patents. It was determined that the Courts should decide. It was not very difficult to get a new Patent. The "value" was determined later (if ever) when someone infringed and was sued. The Judicial System would decide if the Patent was valid. At this point it depends a lot on who has the best lawyer. This has been very good for the lawyers. Of course, the new law will be even better for lawyers. I haven't read the new law, but I will bet that the lawyers love it.
Pressure2
5 / 5 (1) Sep 11, 2011

Most of the world no longer lives in a democracy it is more like a Corpocracy. In fact it is fast becoming a feudal monetary system where the rich have all the money and are able to buy most of the political power.


I guess you know of somewhere in the world where the rich don't have all the money. How does that work....exactly?

It works quite well in countries like Canada, Sweden, Germany, France, Australia and even in the US in the 50's and 60's. Nearly all advanced industrial nation can some how afford national health insurance also. It actually saves them money and makes their companies more competitive in the world markets.


I can't imagine your source of information. Perhaps, when you're a bit older, you'll see things in a different light.

That is funny, I'm probably in your age group. And you are right I still have a lot more to learn, that goes for all of us.
bluehigh
1 / 5 (1) Sep 11, 2011
We Australians are appalled by American medical delivery. It has the hallmarks of savagery.


How did you get to speak for all Aussies? Speak for yourself.

Nearly all advanced industrial nations can some how afford national health insurance ..


These governments struggle to afford a system that allows people to consult a doctor for the most trivial reasons. Perhaps its time to insist on at least some contribution from the patient. I'm not sure I want my taxes to pay for every consultation for a sniffle from your kids or worse still billing regular doctors fees for methadone addicts to get a prescription.

Though like a pig in shit my snouts in the trough too. Wave my Medicare card and I can go see a doctor as much as I want, if I got an itch I dont need to even scratch it myself.
Pressure2
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 11, 2011
We Australians are appalled by American medical delivery. It has the hallmarks of savagery.


How did you get to speak for all Aussies? Speak for yourself.

Nearly all advanced industrial nations can some how afford national health insurance ..


These governments struggle to afford a system that allows people to consult a doctor for the most trivial reasons. Perhaps its time to insist on at least some contribution from the patient. I'm not sure I want my taxes to pay for every consultation for a sniffle from your kids or worse still billing regular doctors fees for methadone addicts to get a prescription.

Though like a pig in shit my snouts in the trough too. Wave my Medicare card and I can go see a doctor as much as I want, if I got an itch I dont need to even scratch it myself.

I think co-pays should be required of everyone including the poor. If they couldn't borrow $5 from a relative for a doctor's visit, they could do without a tattoo.
Jotaf
5 / 5 (1) Sep 11, 2011
Bluehigh: I go see my doctor for every itch. It doesn't cost me a thing. The funny thing is, about half the time I treated a serious condition very early on, and it ended up being a quick fix (say, it was the onset of a nasty infection). If the cost of the consultation had any weight, I would have waited for a serious symptom before doing anything.

We have health centers with doctors that do this sort of pre-screening. Half hour of their time is nothing if, for every 4 times it's "just an itch", they prevent an illness that takes lots of money to fix when in an advanced state (drugs, lost productivity, not to mention way more than a couple of hours of a doctor's time).

And that's why health expenses in the US are 3 to 4 times greater than in other developed countries, while life expectancy is lower. See:

http://en.wikiped...parisons

And follow the references.
XQZME
1 / 5 (1) Sep 11, 2011
Instead of telling us the defects in the new system, the reporter, like many other reporters, just tells us there is a controversy.
Fortunately this site goes into extensive detail describing the defects, the corruption and the traitorism to America.
http://biggovernm...sperity/
bluehigh
1 / 5 (1) Sep 12, 2011
It doesn't cost me a thing.


And that is a burden on others who have to pay in some way such as taxes for something that is at least in part your personal responsibility. As Pressure2 noted at least some form of contribution should be required, either by forgoing the new tattoo or that bottle of beer tonight. Likewise with health centres, you should be required to make a contribution.

I am not convinced that the exceptions prove the rule but if there is data that show that having taxpayers scratch peoples itches are an effective method of preventing higher costs for more serious complications of untreated itches then fine ... show me the data.

As for the higher cost of health expenses in the U.S. then at least the U.S government might not be sent bankrupt by spiraling costs of free public health care.

In the meantime I'm going to get a massage and wallow in a warm hydro pool with a nurse to tend my toe nails at taxpayers expense (other peoples money)!

Beard
not rated yet Sep 12, 2011
The America Invents Act changes the way one can obtain patents to a new "first to file system replacing the old "first to invent" system.


Isn't this self-evidently unjust? Why would it get passed 10:1?
Gena777
5 / 5 (1) Sep 12, 2011
Senator Maria Cantwell may have said it best: "This is not a patent reform bill. This is a big corporation patent give away that tramples on the rights of small inventors." It's certainly a shame that Sen. Coburn's amendment (ending fee diversion by Congress) didn't stand a chance. But considering the current political climate, I suppose it's not surprising.
http://www.aminn.org/
holoman
not rated yet Sep 20, 2011
Alot of folks think it cost alot to file a patent.

If you write the patent yourself, file the documents yourself
will cost $ 500. You don't need attorney to file patent.

When the patent office comes back with office action depending
you can then find a patent attorney to follow up for
around $ 3k drawings and all.

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