- Thomas Reddy
- Oceanside, NY
- United States
How would you reform the US patent system?
In the US, the number of annual patent applications has steadily incresed, with a dramatic leap in the past two decades.
1963 - 90K patent applications - 48K patents granted
1971 - 111K patent applications - 81K patents granted
1981 - 113K patent applications - 71K patents granted
1991 - 177K patent applications - 106K patents granted
2001 - 345K patent applications - 183k patents granted
2011 - 535K patent applications - 247K patents granted
This has lead to two major issues with the Patent application process. First, the system becomes slow and clogged. It can take multiple years and cost fantastic sums of money in legal fees in order to get a legitimate patent granted. Second, patent examiners by necessity will need to spend less time examining each patent. However, because patent applicant has the ability to respond and make alterations to the patent as a result of the patent examiner's decisions, the patent examiner can be forced to spend an exorbitant amount of time on a single patent, often leading to a granted patent, where one shouldn't have been granted.
To some extent, this hampers inovation, because individuals with legitimately innovative ideas are scared off from filing for patents. It also creates a market of bad patents, which entrepreneurial individuals can purchase and then attempt to enforce against companies... These people are often referred to as Patent Trolls.
My question is this: Assuming you believe Patents to be a worthwhile legal construct, how would you alter the Patent System in the US to improve it's efficiency and help spark innovation? What principles are guiding you to make that suggestion?
One potential solution is a peer review patent system: http://www.uspto.gov/patents/init_events/peerpriorartpilotindex.jsp