By Herb Hart
Herb Hart, a shareholder in the Chicago firm of McAndrews Held & Malloy, maintains a full-service intellectual property practice in the pharmaceutical, medical device, petroleum, chemical, agribusiness, and aerospace industries. He has developed special expertise in patent interference matters and in intellectual property portfolio strategy and management.
Much has been said and written about the United States patent system over the past few years, most of it quite critical. The system, so it is said, is broken and needs fixing. And so we’ve seen a move to “reform” the patent system, i.e., “[t]o improve by alteration, correction of error, or removal of defects; put into a better form or condition.”1
If the patent system is broken and needs fixing, what’s it supposed to be doing for us? The constitutional basis for the system is Article I, Section 8: “The Congress shall have power to .... promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries; ...” So, if the destination is to “promote the progress of science and useful arts”, will patent “reform” move us in the right direction?
Very briefly, the term “patent reform” encompasses an amalgam of wide-ranging proposed changes to...