I think scoleman is completely right. The law makers might have had good intentions in writing this new law, and I stress might, but it appears overwhelmingly like it is going to cause even more problems. The small time engineers or companies are going to have big issues fighting giant corporations with countless piles of attorneys and money.
At this point I too remain pretty pessimistic that the system can be overhauled and brought into proper alignment.
As @Youjaes dubbed his subject line, it's totally a double-edge sword where there are obvious advantages for some and equally obvious disadvantages for others.
The sadder part is that more and more frequently legislators put forth bills that don't really address the heart of the matter nor go far enough to create adequate solutions or at least viable alternatives. @scoleman said it well - patents are being used as competitive weapons. To some extent it's understandable that IP - much like supply chain practices - need to be leveraged to distinguish a company from its competitors, but not at the price of choking inventors and stifling innovation. Time will tell if the America Invents Act lives up to its promise of pioneering ideas and slowing down uncessary legal battles, or if it's a law with more loopholes people and companies have to figure out how to jump through.
I look at things this way. Let's say, for example, a pharma company works for many years and spends millions of dollars developing a new drug. At the last minute, one of the bio-engineers decides to run to the patent office and file for a patent. Tough luck Pharma, you just lost your invention, huh? You can fire the engineer, but so what? They can just sell it to your competition and make a whole lot of money. Maybe we had better keep the "prior art" part of the provisioning process. I'm reminded of the question, "Who is Elisha Gray?"
I would like to see a streamlined patent system that makes it easier for anyone to file and not just those with deep pockets. I would also like the patent review process to be a lot more stringent whereby the reviewers realy check for themselves that their is no prior art out there and that the patent is not frivolous. There are too many poor patents out there just now. Once I figure out how to pay for all this a I will be sure to inform you ;-)
It would be extremely hard to STOP patent legislation simply because it a service that people pay for. Not to mention that it is NOT cheap. So it will continue (even when patents are granted that may not necessarily hold up in court). Especially in the case where a small shop is going up against a big corporation. You simply cannot afford the legal strainer. So in some cases, it makes you wonder what the true benefits are of actually having a patent.
Patents are now being leveraged as a weapon to destroy compitition, and by non-producing entities to suck the life out of companies that actually try to make a living by producing quality products. Yes, there are some that try not to pay for IP, but there are far more that are attacked with patents that don't even apply to the technology being developed by that company. Patents are being used as weapons, not for the betterment of man kind as our forefathers had envisioned. That is the current state of affairs in the court system. Business are being extorted by patent thugs that are saying, 'thats a real nice Company and product you are building, it would be a shame if something happened to it, now wouldn't it?'.
And then comes the "patent reform"? Why is it bad you ask? Because it removes one of the defenses that the defendants could possibly use in court to clear themselves of the charges. "Prior Art" goes away. If somebody already built one, but didn't patent it, they could be sued by whoever patents it in the future. In other words, the only way to keep from getting sued is to patent every possible idea, concept, ans gizmo you can think of, and then some! If you don't spend every last penny you have on patent lawyers and tie up all your engineers doing patent descriptions, and pay all the USPTO fees, then you are garunteed to get sued in the future. How is this helping the problem? The reform just made the problem worse by 100 orders of magnitude! And that's a conservative estimate.
Nowhere does any of this promote more inventions, or aid the inventor in developing new inventions for the betterment of society. None of this is adding to the human side of the inventors problems and creating a better world. That is the very basis for having the USPTO in the forst place! Helping the lawyers and accountants to shovel money from one account to another is not helping anything.
I share your reservations about the change in law. Granting the patent to the first to file rather than the first to invent is not likely to help the little guys out there, quite the opposite. Another thing that could prove detrimental is the question of fees. If they get very high, only those with deep enough pockets will be able to hold patents, and the individual genuis inventor without a fortune or a backer wouldn't stand a chance.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.