Is the time right for patent reform?

A Harvard professor is releasing a book this November that severely criticizes the US patent laws. He’s claiming that the patent laws no longer promote innovation, but are actually stiffling it.

Today we get news that the US Patent Office has actually rejected a Microsoft patent after it had already been granted based on evidence presented by Public Patent Foundation.

The US patent law as it currently stands is nothing but a meal ticket for patent lawyers and companies, who employ an army of patent lawyers. I don’t think it ever was the intention of the founding fathers to promote companies, who do nothing but hold patent “portfolios”, with no intention of ever actually implementing anything based on the patents.

Furthermore it’s long been clear that the US Patent Office no longer has the resources to adequately investigate patent claims. They are granting overarching patents for obvious and trivial “inventions”, such as the 1-click-shopping patent received, or the more general shopping cart patent previously owned by Divine, now owned by one of those patent portfolio companies.

With this week’s news, it looks like the tide is turning, and there might be some real chance of patent reform in the United States. Let’s hope it comes soon.


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