Friday, January 20, 2006

week 3: the future of patent

A patent is a set of exclusive rights (to make, use, sell, offer to sell, and import) granted for an invention created by an inventor. The patent is the strongest form of IP, has few exceptions (no reverse engineering, no fair use), and lasts for 20 years from the date of filing the patent application.

In contrast to copyright law, patent law has faced stiffer calls for reform, in part based on criticism that patents are impeding innovation in some areas, such as computer software. The Federal Trade Commission issued a report "To Promote Innovation") (see here) partially critical of the current U.S. patent system, noting concerns of many industry folks that too many "bad patents" are being granted and that innovation is being dampened in the process. Consider the case of the patent (eventually declared invalid) that was granted by the Patent Office for making crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (see here). Yes, you read that correctly.

The calls for reform have led to reform bills in Congress to change patent law to allow greater opportunity for third parties to challenge patents in "opposition" proceedings (a proceeding that thus far exists in other countries, but not the U.S.).

For this week, we'll consider: (1) should patent law be reformed because too many patents are being granted that impede innovation, and (2) if lawmakers are considering reforms in patent law to stop it from impeding innovation, why aren't they doing the same for copyright law?

Assigned reading
1. Summary of FTC Report "To Promote innovation" (summary)
2. bIPlog debate about patent reform (comment)
3. what's a patent troll? (report)

4. Gregory Kirsch (lawyer) on business method patents (comment)
5. Is it obvious? In re Dembiczak (patent on pumpkin faced garbage bags (case)
6. Should we shut down Blackberry? (summary and report)


Blogger Aaron said...

Here is a patent that might be of interest to you cat lovers!

9:44 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

There is actually another patent that uses a treadmill with a laser pointer to exercise a cat.

9:45 AM  

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