obvIPat - Obviously Patentable

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

Preserving the killer apps – a patently slanted view

by Orlando Lopez

In an article in the Saturday November 20 edition of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the success of China and India is attributed to these countries adopting our “killer apps.” Among those killer apps are technology and work ethic.

In his speech at the Cleantech Open gala on November 17, 2010, the President of the Kauffman Foundation added one more killer app, entrepreneurship. From the Kauffman Foundation’s Fast Facts, young companies are responsible for the lion’s share of job creation and for repopulating the Fortune 500. There is strong indication that startup companies use patents to facilitate obtaining investments, and to secure their technology advantage. Taking into account the additional fact that, as anybody that has been involved in a startup knows, a startup is the quintessential example of the application of the work ethic, there is some connection between the three “killer apps” and patents. Patents play a role in the financing of startups and the preservation of their technology advantage. Additionally, the work ethic is a component of the startup experience; however, at present it takes, on the average, three and a half years to obtain a patent.  Given our desire to continue using the “killer apps” to keep our economy growing, as well as the connection between patents and some of the “killer apps,” an action that facilitates the patenting process would be beneficial to the economy. Although there are different views as to the effect of the present version of patent reform on small companies, there is at least one element of the present version of patent reform that would help facilitate the patenting process. Providing the USPTO with fee-setting authority in order to cover its costs (as long as Congress does not rob the coffers). Although, given the controversy about the effect of the present patent reform proposal on small companies, enacting the entire patent reform proposal may be difficult, there is an opportunity to enact those portions, such as the fee setting authority, that could have a definite impact on speeding the patenting process.

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