Lists Home |
Date Index |
Michael Kay wrote:
> The US Patent Office is clearly not applying stringent enough criteria.
> What I would like to know is, is it a conspiracy (protectionism for the
> US software industry, jobs for the lawyers), or is it just incompetence?
It's likely overwork. Intellectual property is a checklist item for
investors (especially venture capitalists), so there's enormous pressure on
small tech startups to patent something -- *anything* -- even if there's no
malicious intent to blackmail others with a bogus patent. It's pathetic,
but it's hard to blame them, since the investors hold all the cards. When
big, well-funded companies play the same game, though, it's reprehensible.
It seems unlikely that the staff at the USPTO can do more than give each
application a cursory glance and make sure that all the required fields are
filled in; it's up to the courts to figure out what the truth might be.
The problem right now is that there is a moral hazard to filing a bogus
patent claim: you don't face any serious consequences if you lose, so why
not take a chance? In many ways, it's exactly analogous to spamming. If a
company could stand to lose millions (or more) because of a irresponsible
patent, the system might work a little better.
All the best,