By Manny W. Schecter1
It is increasingly common to express concerns about the patent system. Many of us complain about the patent system without proposing solutions. Others reject proposed solutions because they have side effects without separately mitigating them. I propose that collaboration be used in new ways to improve patent examination quality and eliminate the downstream impact of low quality patents.
Some of the Problems with Our Patent System
Everyone has an opinion about the ills of our patent system these days. There are bloggers who point to patents that appear to be silly or cover unpatentable ideas (no matter that those bloggers often have not read or understood the claims). Some nations want to reduce the impact of patents on the availability of important medicines (would the reduction of patent protection impact the development of those medicines in the first place if patent protection is reduced)? Many open source software advocates protest the very existence of patents relating to software (yet, the same advocates have no problem with exactly the same patents, including exactly the same claims, applying to hardware). Even President Bush in his last State of the Union address called for the banning of patents for “unethical practices such as the buying, selling, patenting, or cloning of human life”. Few, if any, of these critics work in the patent community.