obvIPat - Obviously Patentable

The blog for inventors, in-house counsel, & entrepreneurs.

It is Good to See the Two Parties Working together, BUT Not So Fast

by Orlando Lopez

No, it is not health care reform.  It is patent reform – not sexy and guaranteed to put you to sleep.  The Tea Party is not fighting against it and Sarah Palin did not talk about it when she was in Boston.  It is not news and it doesn’t sell ads, but it can have a significant impact on the economy and jobs (now we’re talking!).   The House passed its version last year and the Senate version is now out of the Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support.   One small bipartisan group of Congressmen has voiced their opposition, but there is absolutely no noise from the Senate. Sen. Leahy (who probably polled all the 53 patent attorneys and agents in Vermont) is leading the push, but there are many who worry that this is the best patent bill that money can buy.  There has been strong lobbying by multibillion dollar companies from both the computer camp and the biotech camp, but the small companies and individual inventors had a hard time finding a good lobbyist that they could afford.  There is indeed a need for change in the patent process.   The Non Practicing Entities (NPEs, a.k.a. patent trolls) have caused a fear of patents among large companies and there is an uproar over junk patents, like the patent for the method for exercising a cat.   From the small inventor and small-company side, the 5 to 6 years it usually takes to get the patent is longer than any venture capitalist would wait; additionally, patents are extremely important in getting those VCs to the table.  In subsequent posts we will explore both sides (yes Virginia, there is a large company side) and summarize where the present patent reform bills are taking us.

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