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Archived updates for Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Politics of Patent Reform in the U.S.

In the third installment of his occasional series on patent politics, Declan McCullagh writes for CNet on September 13, 2005 about the Patent Reform Act of 2005 which was introduced by Congressman Lamar Smith:
The legislation suddenly has become a flash point about everything that's right
with the U.S. patent system--and everything that's wrong with it. Technology
companies fighting expensive patent cases are hoping the bill will reduce
litigation, while open-source advocates say it will do nothing to hinder the
rising tide of software patents being issued. Many people feel that the measure
will make only modest improvements, if any, to the quality of patents being
He also writes that Orin Hatch may be preparing to offer a competing bill in the Senate:
[Hatch] indicated that he might consider two other legislative options. The first one would be to permit third parties to submit "prior art," the legal term for evidence that an alleged invention was already public, after the patent application has been published but before it has been granted. A second option would be to repair the Patent and Trademark Office's existing re-examination process, which is virtually unused.
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