obvIPat - Obviously Patentable

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

Patent Stimulus Package-A Cure For An Ailing Economy?

by Orlando Lopez

The Patent Stimulus Package is not WPA for patent attorneys and it is not a way for patent attorneys to get big bonuses, not that I would oppose that! The Patent Stimulus idea is based on the fact that, if the time it takes to obtain a patent, or at least to get the first response from the Patent Office, can be decreased to a reasonable time (such as 12-18 months), then the increase in the number of patents allowed would lead to the formation of new emerging companies.  This idea, expressed by Judge Michel (Ret.), the recently retired Chief Judge of the CAFC, was commented on last Sunday by Liz Claman, an anchor on Fox Business News.

There are also other forms of possible Patent Stimulus.  The recently released results of the 2008 Berkeley Patent Survey provides some background and definition of the problem, which elicit the possible solutions.  Of the emerging companies surveyed, 55% cited the cost of obtaining a patent and 45% cited the cost of enforcing a patent, as reasons to forego patent protection.  The cost of obtaining a patent can be reduced by programs that reduce the number of times that the patent application is examined by the Patent Office, such as the now defunct First Action Interview Pilot Program.  Additionally, the applicants/inventors can work with the patent attorney to reduce the cost of preparing the application.

It would take more than one post and a number of creative ideas to tackle the second problem, the cost of enforcing the patents.  I believe, that if we are able to make the decision to arbitrate more likely, we can then reduce the cost of enforcing the patents; however, we will leave discussion of these approaches to another post.

Patents are utilized by emerging companies in order to secure funding and increase the valuation of the enterprise.  Consequently, patents serve as a driver to the economy, and by forcing others to innovate around the patent, as drivers to innovation.  Any efforts to expedite the patenting process will help in getting emerging companies started and will serve as a stimulus for the economy.  So, let’s get moving on the Patent Stimulus Package!

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