Patent system 'reform' approved by Senate

By , ITworld |  IT Management, patent reform, patents

Lawyer John Mancini poses for a portrait in the offices of Mayer Brown in New York September 6, 2011. The patent reform bill the Senate approved this week isn't exactly an overhaul, but it is a step toward modernizing patent rules, says Mancini, co-leader of Mayer Brown's intellectual property practice.

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

The headlines blare "major patent system overhaul" but the America Invents Act approved by the Senate on September 8 leaves the worst problems in place. The US Patent and Trademark Office can now set their own fees, and has changed to a "first to file" policy to match most other countries. Patent trolls weren't addressed.

Of course, now that we're in the election cycle, job growth was promised. Few expect patent reform today, even if it was real reform, to create any jobs next month. But political hype reigns for the next 14 months, so get ready.

Large companies like Intel, Apple, and Microsoft are cheering, as are groups like the Business Software Alliance (software piracy watchdog). This makes smaller companies and individuals, who have long benefited from patent protection, more than a little nervous.

Things are actively worse

10 to 1 you will see an increase of patents and 90% of them will never be produced, they will be there for sueing purposes only
grizzled82 on cnet.com

My understanding that this is a bill promoted by big law firms to make more money and to protect financial industry against patent trolls. Also, 'first-inventor-to-file' is something which big companies were pushing anyway. We are doomed...
cHalgan on news.ycombinator.com

Wow, how utterly disappointing. I wish the contributions to PACs were more public, so we could track who gave what to who, and make it easy to compare that to voting records.
mlubrov on arstechnica.com

As someone who has seen invention at the individual, small business, and large corporation level, this bill saddens me. Regardless of other complications with the system, I was always proud that our country stuck up for those who invented first but filed later.
Newkleer on news.ycombinator.com

Did I miss something here? This sounds like the trolls will get even more power. This basically would make retroactive patenting of other people's inventions the norm
jimCA on arstechnica.com

About time

Color me surprised....
Kronykus on arstechnica.com

Greater efficiency is grand. The fairness between two competing inventors is situational, seems like lateral movement at best.
Triumvark on news.ycombinator.com

Things are no different

Trivia: not a single inventor was consulted during the writing of this bill. It was all written by large corporate lobbiests.
dguilder on cnet.com

Seems like investing in politicians is still a safe bet.
Dick Cheney (idnetity not confirmed) on arstechica.com

Your vote: This is A) an improvement to the current patent system, or B) bend over, here it comes again.

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