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IP-Watch Summer Interns

IP-Watch interns talk about their Geneva experience in summer 2013. 2:42.

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The Politicization Of The US Patent System

The Washington Post story, How patent reform’s fraught politics have left USPTO still without a boss (July 30), is a vivid account of how patent reform has divided the US economy, preempting a possible replacement for David Kappos who stepped down 18 months ago. The division is even bigger than portrayed. Universities have lined up en masse to oppose reform, while main street businesses that merely use technology argue for reform. Reminiscent of the partisan divide that has paralyzed US politics, this struggle crosses party lines and extends well beyond the usual inter-industry debates. Framed in terms of combating patent trolls through technical legal fixes, there lurks a broader economic concern – to what extent ordinary retailers, bank, restaurants, local banks, motels, realtors, and travel agents should bear the burden of defending against patents as a cost of doing business.


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    EPO Advisory Board Makes Recommendations For Patent System: Patent Quality Is Key

    Published on 13 March 2013 @ 1:47 pm

    By , Intellectual Property Watch

    The year-old Economic and Scientific Advisory Board (ESAB) of the European Patent Office has concluded a one-year study of patent thickets, quality and fees, finding that many problems in the patent system could addressed by better patent quality. This means it is not necessary make a fee adjustment or have a major overhaul of the patent system at this time, it said.

    “The Board does not regard patent thickets as a root cause of problems,” the ESAB said in a statement, which cited slowness and cost as concerns. “Rather, measures to improve patent quality will reduce the complexities of dealing with patent thickets.”

    On the question of costs of patents, the ESAB said “there is no urgent need for a fundamental patent fee reform,” though some harmonisation of European fee systems might be in order.

    The ESAB statement, today’s press release, and a report on patent thickets are available here.

    The ESAB, which is supported by the EPO chief economist, is “composed of experts who represent companies, research establishments, universities and other institutions in Europe, Asia and the USA and are familiar with the patent system,” the EPO said in a release at the launch of the ESAB in January 2012. The list of experts named to the ESAB is here.

    In its inaugural meeting a year ago, the ESAB decided to focus on patent thickets, patent fees and patent quality. It spent the year under the leadership of Prof. Dietmar Harhoff of Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) in Munich, and conducted investigations and workshops during the year.

    The group’s work came in response to generally held concerns about the patent quality and the patent system.

    “Today there is a widespread concern that patent quality is deteriorating and that low patent quality threatens the functioning of the whole system,” ESAB said. “The Board points out that improving patent quality will require action at both the pre-grant and the post-grant stage.”

    Measures at the pre-grant stage could need to address speed and quality of examination, it said, and patent offices should better use collective knowledge by sharing information during search and examination. For the post-grant stage, attention should be given to improving opposition or re-examination proceedings, it said. Also, “more efficient and less expensive litigation systems as well as reliable alternative dispute-resolution mechanisms may further improve patent quality.”

    An advisory board workshop held in September reached some conclusions about patent thickets, though experts varied on whether thickets are a problem. A suggestion was made that patent thickets mainly occur in technological areas with significant market potential, the report found. But even in this case, they argued that it is low quality patents, plus slowness and cost, that are causing the problems. Nevertheless, the group saw a close relationship to innovation management and its complexity.

    The report broke down the concept of “cost of complexity,” as it relates to different types of stakeholders. It found, among other things, that smaller firms and individual inventors have difficulty overcoming the cost of complexity.

     

     

    William New may be reached at wnew@ip-watch.ch.

     


    Leave a Reply

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

    9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

     

     
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