Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Patents United States Your Rights Online

Patent Reform Bill Passes Senate 368

Posted by samzenpus
from the first-to-file dept.
First time accepted submitter nephorm writes "The Senate passed the first major overhaul of the nation's patent law in more than a half century by passing the America Invents Act. The legislation won overwhelming approval in an 89-9 vote. From the article: 'The America Invents Act switches the U.S. patent system from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file nation. It also sets up a new regime to review patents and gives the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office more flexibility to set and spend fees paid for by inventors to get patents and businesses to register trademarks.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Patent Reform Bill Passes Senate

Comments Filter:
  • by MasseKid (1294554) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @11:05PM (#37348172)
    The first post. I didn't invent it, but I did get here first.
    • by Divebus (860563) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @11:26PM (#37348300)

      I'd like to see the old "first to show the damned thing working" system come back. Ideas are one thing, but there's nothing like a working sample. No ambiguity if you can/can't show it, no pie-in-the-sky "inventions" that lay in wait in patent trolls' filing cabinets.

      The people who have no resources to actually create their idea may be subject to someone else capitalizing on it, but I can see a robust VC or incubator lab market growing out of the need to show the device in action. Contracts would be between the idea person and the VC or lab and won't dirty up the patent system.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 08, 2011 @11:38PM (#37348350)

        What matters is what the aristocracy would like to see. Which is precisely what the America Invents Act delivers.

        Ideas are valuable. Therefore, the aristocracy wants to control them. If this slows innovation down to a snail's pace, eliminates jobs, and weakens America's position as a world power, so be it.

        And before anyone explains to me that offering patents creates an incentive to invent, just stop. Take a look at how patents are actually used in practice. They empower wealthy corporations to set up barriers-to-entry by making it so expensive to innovate that only the wealthy corporations can do it...and of course they do very little of it because the RnD is expensive and the enterprise too risky.

      • by Kenja (541830) on Friday September 09, 2011 @12:12AM (#37348512)
        That favors large companies over small inventors. One of the points of the patent system is that it allows people to get investors to build a prototype without giving their idea away. Without that, Uber Corp just takes the idea and develops it them selves, originator gets nada.
      • by SharpFang (651121) on Friday September 09, 2011 @03:15AM (#37349146) Homepage Journal

        The worst part is the patent lists the basic fundamental idea which you know is sound, simple and will work in the end once the obstacles are out of the way. And 98% of the work (and cost) is removing these obstacles, solving all the little caveats, to get it working.

        Nuclear reactor? Trivial. Stack some radioactives, run water through them, blow the resulting steam at turbines. Easy-peasy. I can draw the schematics in 5 minutes and submit the patent application tomorrow. Now for details like stopping the core from overheating, dealing with pressures of thousands atmospheres, cooling tons of water per second before it returns into the system, stopping the radioactivity from leaking... Let someone take care of that and I'll just reap profits from my patent application.

    • The first post. I didn't invent it, but I did get here first.

      Crap! I came up with the idea first, but I'm just such a slow typist...

      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        No worry. Just file his idea with the patent office and he'll have to pay you for having had the idea before you.

        What does all this mean for "prior art"?

        • by Sun (104778)

          What does all this mean for "prior art"?

          Nothing. The prior art rules are unaffected by first to file rules. Of course, IANAL, but, then again, neither is anyone else commenting on this thread.

          Shachar

          • by mwvdlee (775178)

            If prior art is unaffected, then how can you ever have a "first to file" system? I mean; if person A invents something before person B files a patent application for that invention, shouldn't person A's invention be considered prior art?

            Or more simply; if I publish an idea on my blog and some company takes that idea and patents it, does my blog entry count as prior art? Assuming nobody else thought of it first, I would obviously be first-to-invent but not first-to-file, and since there's no actual implement

            • by Eskarel (565631)

              You have to publish it to be prior art.

              Essentially what this means is that if two entities approach the patent office with the same patent which they've been developing in secret and haven't published any details about or released, instead of the patent office spending a crap load of time and money trying to work out which company "invented" the thing first for whatever value of "invented" you choose to have by wading through both entities reams of fraudulent information and vague hints, they just say "enti

        • In a country built on the concept of being punishing several races of people who had the audacity to occupy our land before we discovered it, it only seems right that now we punish people for thinking of things before we did too.
    • by sconeu (64226)

      Well played, Mauer!

  • We really do need fewer (but higher-quality) patents, and we need a more predictable system. With any luck, this will deliver that. And I speak as the inventor of 20+ US Patents. (Corporate ones; an individual inventor might feel otherwise.) :-)

    --Greg

    • How will this deliver "fewer patents, but those that do get accepted are of higher quality"? It seems to me that it will do the exact opposite.

      Supporters of the act contend that reforming the patent system will unlock innovation and produce jobs in an economy that is increasingly driven by intellectual property. Currently, there is a backlog of about 700,000 patents waiting for examination, and the next cellphone, incandescent lamp or miracle drug could be hidden in that pile, supporters said.

      How, exactly will this "unlock innovation" and produce jobs? And, what the hell does "Currently, there is a backlog of about 700,000 patents waiting for examination and the next cellphone, incandescent lamp or miracle drug could be hidden in that pile, supporters said" mean, or add to the conversation? It's all smoke and mirrors -- and you cannot seem to see that, bu

      • by scdeimos (632778)

        Supporters of the act contend that reforming the patent system will unlock innovation and produce jobs in an economy that is increasingly driven by intellectual property.

        How, exactly will this "unlock innovation" and produce jobs?

        It means that it creates jobs for the lawyers to litigate patent claims. It could mean nothing else.

        The America Invents Act has just taken the patent system and made it more broken. Way to go, America!

        Someone earlier said that it should be first to demonstrate an actual working invention who gets the patent and I wholeheartedly agree with them.

        • The problem with this is that as inventions get more and more complex(we've run out of simple inventions for the most part at this point) the amount of money to get that working sample increases. This means that a person must go to either a bunch of VCs who will end up controlling the product, or a corporation. and since it's first to get working, there absolutely nothing stopping the corp/VCs from dumping the idea creator and getting it working through their own R&D.

          • by scdeimos (632778)
            People with no resources and no intention of actually doing anything should not be able to say "I'm inventing a gene that lets humans fly**", patent it and then turn around and sue someone who does the hard work of actually researching and utilizing the gene that lets humans fly**. This is of no benefit to society.

            ** choose your own invention.

            The proposed changes to the system allow for patents that the "inventor" just dreams up and has no intentions of ever prototyping or producing.

            • That's the real problem with the patent system as it exists today - 'ideas' should not be patentable. Overly broad statements like the one you said should not be patentable. Patents should be extremely specific, so as to prevent situations like the one you listed.

              That way...if you invent a system for unaided human flight, you must say exactly how you would go about doing it. If you have no money, but a company sees your idea, they can license that patent from you. If it doesn't work, then oh well. But th
        • by serbanp (139486)

          It means that it creates jobs for the lawyers to litigate patent claims. It could mean nothing else.

          That's why it's also known as "The Lawyer Employment Act"

      • Re:It's About Time (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Sun (104778) <shachar@shemesh.biz> on Friday September 09, 2011 @01:16AM (#37348730) Homepage

        IANAL

        The main difference this brings is that you cannot publish something prior to patenting it, as your own publishing can act as prior art, invalidating your own patent. This means that you cannot take something published, say "hey, this would actually make a nice patent", and go around and patent it. You'd be committing fraud when signing the piece of paper saying that, as far as you know, the invention is novel.

        People here confuse "first to invent" with "prior art". If something is published, it is unpatentable, no matter which system you use. First to file encourages early filing, as if you keep things secret, someone else might file a patent (due to unrelated invention), and you'd be left with nothing. This means you need to either publish (and prevent everyone, yourself included, from monopolizing it) or patent it early (a provisional is fine, so small inventors can still participate, provided they can spare $110).

        Under the current system, patents could surface quite late in the game. So long as you have some proof that the patent was in progress, you could wait until someone else published it, and then run off to the patent office and patent it. That makes no sense. The purpose (original one) of the patent system was to encourage inventors to publish their inventions.

        Shachar

        • by Kirijini (214824)

          The main difference this brings is that you cannot publish something prior to patenting it, as your own publishing can act as prior art, invalidating your own patent.

          Not so. IIRC from law school, inventors get a year-long grace period after they publish their invention before they have to patent it or lose it.

          In fact, this provision appears to be in the new legislation. From HR.1249:

          "A disclosure made 1 year or less before the effective filing date of a claimed invention shall not be prior art to the claimed invention under subsection (a)(1) if:
          (A) the disclosure was made by the inventor or joint inventor or by another who obtained the subject matter disclosed directl

        • Re:It's About Time (Score:4, Informative)

          by thirtyfour (1951876) on Friday September 09, 2011 @09:23AM (#37351198)
          You might be "+5 Insightful," but you're also wrong. Inventors have a 1-year window after publishing in which they can file their application. This is true under both the old laws and the new. I love how the people with mod points don't let a little thing like not knowing anything about patent law get in the way of their pronouncing a post that (incorrectly) tries to explain a point of patent law as "insightful."
          • by Kirijini (214824)

            Other than the first paragraph, about publishing before patenting, GP's post is insightful. You should stick with correcting/clarifying posts you disagree with, not slamming them.

          • It actually encourages people like you, not moderating on that post, to come out with your ideas that either add to its validity or add additional information that disproves it, increasing the overall breadth of information. You performed that role.

            That's awesome.

  • It should be about what's best for the nation and the General Welfare.

    • It should be about what's best for the nation and the General Welfare.

      I suspect this is going to boil down to "Congress Screws the Little Guy, Again".

    • by nzac (1822298)

      It should be about what's best for the nation and the General Welfare.

      You do realise how socialist you sound there?

      That's anti american dream talk there, more likely to get your shot than elected.

      You have to present it more like this:
      It should be about allowing leaving room for other companies to be successful.

      But that still seems far to socialist for a Democrat Candidate to risk even thinking.

  • So this means the concept of prior art is moot?

    It might not be so detrimental except that I imagine the legislation in question will not improve the quality of work of patent examiners who will continue rubber-stamp approval of obvious ideas.

    I think it's especially repulsive that some well-known useful tool people have been using for years could suddenly become patented by a troll who had no involvement in its creation and would then have the legal standing to demand license fees of the community.

    Shit sucks

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      So this means the concept of prior art is moot?

      No, it doesn't. To my mind, if publicly there is a prior art, then it's not something new, thus not an something that worth protecting by a temporary monopoly.

      The prior art is "already there", why should one be granted a patent for something is already public?

    • by Kirijini (214824) <kirijini AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday September 09, 2011 @12:04AM (#37348474)

      So this means the concept of prior art is moot?

      No.

      It appears that the bill in question is H.R.1249 [loc.gov] (TFA doesn't actually specify which bill they're talking about - and there are several versions floating around congress). The text of the bill concerning prior art is:

      ‘‘ 102. Conditions for patentability; novelty
      (a) NOVELTY; PRIOR ART.—A person shall be entitled to a patent unless—
      (1) the claimed invention was patented, described in a printed publication, or in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public before the effective filing date of the claimed invention; or
      (2) the claimed invention was described in a patent issued under section 151, or in an application for patent published or deemed published under section 122(b), in which the patent or application, as the case may be, names another inventor and was effectively filed before the effective filing date of the claimed invention."

      Thus, prior art under the new law would be anything that was patented, described in a printed publication, or in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public before the effective filing date of the claimed invention.

    • by iamhassi (659463)

      So this means the concept of prior art is moot?

      That is correct: [politico.com] "The America Invents Act switches the U.S. patent system from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file nation.

      You can invent and use and sell something all you want, but if you did not file a patent on it then someone else can file a patent and sue you for selling your own invention. Prior art no longer exists unless there was a patent for that prior art.

      • by dgatwood (11270) on Friday September 09, 2011 @01:06AM (#37348680) Journal

        No, not true. If it already exists and is for sale, it cannot be patented by anyone, including the person who first put it up for sale. A patent application must be filed before a technology is made publicly available, or it is no longer patentable. That is already the case even under current patent law, and will not change.

        However, if you have not quite made it to market and someone else comes up with the same idea and patents it while you are polishing up the edges, you're screwed, whereas before, you could at least ostensibly claim that you invented it first if your prototypes go back farther in time.

        This is both good and bad. On the one hand, patent trolls who actually got as far as building a prototype but never marketing it or publishing it cannot use that as prior art to show that someone else's patent is invalid. On the other hand, it means that companies must file patents (or at least provisional applications) much earlier in the process and much more often to avoid the risk of a competitor coming up with the same idea and screwing them.

        On the whole, this so-called reform is basically basically a wash except that it will cause an increase in patent filings (which makes it a net negative in my book). It does almost nothing to reduce the ability of patent trolls to prosper. It similarly does almost nothing to reduce the scope of software patents' ability to stifle innovation and bog down the industry in unnecessary lawsuits. All it really does is make the trial duration slightly shorter....

        This is to patent reform what shooting someone in the backside with a shotgun is to discipline. Sure, it technically qualifies as discipline, but it's not the sort of discipline that actually improves behavior.

        • by mcrbids (148650)

          A patent application must be filed before a technology is made publicly available, or it is no longer patentable. That is already the case even under current patent law, and will not change.

          Sorry, not true. You have 1 year from public disclosure to patent the idea.

      • by Surt (22457)

        Nope. If you were selling it, and can prove you were doing so to the public before the other guy filed the patent, you still win. Of course now you can't get the patent, but neither can they.

      • Dead wrong. As soon as you make your invention public - i.e use and/or sell it, it constitutes prior art for anyone trying to file a patent on the same thing later. If you want a patent on your invention, file before you go public. That's all there is to first-to-file.
    • by galaad2 (847861)

      China (and S. Korea too) are also using a first-to-file patent law system (and trademarks work the mostly same way too!, first-to-file) and there is a nightmare over there with competitors filing for patents and then blocking sales and exports of various products because they infringe their newly-granted patents or trademarks

      patents in China
      http://preview.tinyurl.com/Chinese-Patent-doc [tinyurl.com]

      trademarks in China:
      http://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/pdfs/general/trade_mark_protection_China.pdf [ipaustralia.gov.au]

      http://www.chinalawblog.com/20 [chinalawblog.com]

  • by c0lo (1497653) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @11:16PM (#37348256)
    TFA:

    Supporters of the act contend that reforming the patent system will unlock innovation and produce jobs in an economy that is increasingly driven by intellectual property. Currently, there is a backlog of about 700,000 patents waiting for examination, and the next cellphone, incandescent lamp or miracle drug could be hidden in that pile, supporters said.

    Looking the waste in the current smart-phone patent "compulsive wars", I think the bottleneck in invention (and job creation) is NOT in first-to-invent vs first-to-file (the current battle would have happened in both "first-to..." strategies). Look, Europe is driven by the "first-to-file" for quite a while: did this stop Apple to block Samsung tablets/phones (or whatever) in Germany?

    I don't see how's this one a step forward in the "job creation" direction (not says that is not, just saying that I need some explanations. Somebody care to explain?).

    • by exomondo (1725132)

      I don't see how's this one a step forward in the "job creation" direction (not says that is not, just saying that I need some explanations. Somebody care to explain?).

      I'll jump on the 'i don't get it' bandwagon too.

      • by hey! (33014)

        I don't see how's this one a step forward in the "job creation" direction (not says that is not, just saying that I need some explanations. Somebody care to explain?).

        I'll jump on the 'i don't get it' bandwagon too.

        Then I'll *patent* jumping on the 'i don't get it' bandwagon.

        • by exomondo (1725132)

          I don't see how's this one a step forward in the "job creation" direction (not says that is not, just saying that I need some explanations. Somebody care to explain?).

          I'll jump on the 'i don't get it' bandwagon too.

          Then I'll *patent* jumping on the 'i don't get it' bandwagon.

          Shit!

    • by Dyinobal (1427207)
      First to invent vs first to file has no real bearing on the state of patents int he USA. This won't stop patent wars and in some ways will make them worse. Did you patent every conceivable aspect of your invention? Will some slimy scum bag come in behind you and patent some trivial aspect of your product and then sue you?
      • by Kirijini (214824) <kirijini AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday September 08, 2011 @11:51PM (#37348416)

        Did you patent every conceivable aspect of your invention? Will some slimy scum bag come in behind you and patent some trivial aspect of your product and then sue you?

        If your product is on the market before the slimy scum bag files for a patent, he'll be rejected at the patent office, because your product is prior art. Every aspect of the product is prior art, whether it was patented or not. Under a first to file system, you can't sue someone (successfully) for patent infringement if their product was for sale to the public before you filed. Under a first to invent system, the slimy scum bag might win, if he actually invented the "trivial aspect of your product" before you did, plus various other conditions. Under the first to file system, that messy problem of proving who invented first is removed.

        • by KitFox (712780)

          If your product is on the market before the slimy scum bag files for a patent, he'll be rejected at the patent office, because your product is prior art. Every aspect of the product is prior art, whether it was patented or not. Under a first to file system, you can't sue someone (successfully) for patent infringement if their product was for sale to the public before you filed. Under a first to invent system, the slimy scum bag might win, if he actually invented the "trivial aspect of your product" before you did, plus various other conditions. Under the first to file system, that messy problem of proving who invented first is removed.

          The above statement (parent), if true, is the most informative item I have read in this entire comment discussion.

        • If your product is on the market before the slimy scum bag files for a patent, he'll be rejected at the patent office, because your product is prior art.

          Assuming that they're doing their job, which conventional wisdom says they haven't been.[*] And still won't, unless the bill vastly increases the funding for patent examiners.

          So now Mr. SSB will often get patents that he shouldn't, and it will take an army of lawyers to get them revoked.

          [*] No affront intended. It's just that it's a lot more lucrative for qualified people to work in industry than at the Patent Office. (Again, this according to conventional wisdom.)

          • by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday September 09, 2011 @12:45AM (#37348614)

            Assuming that they're doing their job, which conventional wisdom says they haven't been.[*]

            They have not been because it's been an almost impossible task to keep up.

            The new bill helps in two ways:

            1) Since you don't care anymore who thought of an idea first, you only need to see if the idea exists in the market or has already been filed to dismiss. Before even if someone filed earlier it COULD be they thought of it later... or the guy filing thought of the idea before the thing on the market arrived.

            2) I'm weak on this point but basically it allows outside entities to contest bad patents instead of just the patent holder. Now the EFF and the FSF can go to down striking down the evil before us.

            And still won't, unless the bill vastly increases the funding for patent examiners.

            You know what? It actually DOES do that. Because now the patent office gets to keep application fees. They didn't before? Nope, went into the general pool to pay for the growing SS or a new airport in Nowhereville dedicated to the state senator.

            It's just that it's a lot more lucrative for qualified people to work in industry than at the Patent Office.

            Perhaps they can pay examiners more now that they get to keep application fees.

            This is really a decent overhaul, better than we could expect from all the infighting and bickering going on.

        • by dgatwood (11270)

          If your product is on the market before the slimy scum bag files for a patent, he'll be rejected at the patent office, because your product is prior art.

          You need to be a little more precise than that. Even under first-to-invent, what you said there is generally true. The exception is when two companies were inventing the same idea at the same exact time, in an overlapping fashion. It is almost invariably not a "scumbag". That person has to somehow prove that he or she was inventing the same thing at th

    • by mcrbids (148650)

      Silly engineer-type! You expect sentences to make sense?

      Here's what normal people hear: blah blah blah job creation blah blah reform blah blah landmark legislation blah blah better future!

      Sadly, people with this level of comprehension have a vote that counts just as much as yours. Welcome to America.

  • Great idea: throw away the one good reform to ever hit the US patent office; that is, ending the race to the patent office with the first-to-invent system.
    • Re:Brilliant! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 08, 2011 @11:49PM (#37348406)

      And just how many international patents do you have to your name? I have 2 and I can tell you that first to invent is a PITA and penalizes small inventors. First to file places a stake in the ground that is not contestable. First to invent is open to intrepretation via courts and unless you have the resources and well documented evidence (such lab books where EACH PAGE is signed by two individuals) you will lose out.

      • by Kirijini (214824)

        Mod parent up.

        First to invent appeals to the notion that little guy inventors will get screwed over by big companies, because the big companies can afford to file patent applications quickly. This is sort of a short-sighted argument, though - because figuring out who invented first is a messy factual inquiry (can you prove you invented it in your garage? Are we supposed to just take your word that you had a working prototype years ago?), extensive, expensive litigation is necessary to pin down who invente

      • by zill (1690130)

        ...and unless you have the resources and well documented evidence (such lab books where EACH PAGE is signed by two individuals) you will lose out.

        pssst, they sell pre-double signed lab books on eBay. Just make you buy them using prepaid credit cards and ship them to a PO box.

      • by bky1701 (979071)
        All that proves is that both systems exploit the small guy pretty equally. If you have to argue over which is less damaging, the battle is already lost.

        The answer here is to simply get rid of patents and move on. Contrary to popular belief, patents are there to protect financial investment, nothing more. Ideas are cheap and rightly so. Investments on the other hand come from those with money, intending to exploit more. Patents arose in Britain as a way to grant government power to corporations on a tempo
  • by Wolfling1 (1808594) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @11:45PM (#37348378) Journal
    This is reform?

    Strongly resisting the temptation to whargarbl.

    This act will only encourage patent trolling. It will increase the rates of industrial espionage in a country that is already struggling with cyber-crime.

    The original inventors will have to become legal wizards in addition to their existing skillset.

    Still, why should I care? I'm not American, and anything that stifles American invention can only be good for my country.... sooooo.... thanks America! Good job there!
    • Re:Wait.. what? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MimeticLie (1866406) on Friday September 09, 2011 @12:01AM (#37348460)

      I'm not American

      Then you should know that most of the world is first-to-file rather than first-to-invent. This does the opposite of what you claim: small inventors no longer have to worry about being taken to court and having to prove that they invented it first; now as long as there wasn't prior art, they're in the right.

      Now if we can just do something about software patents, we might have a decent system.

  • by xkr (786629) on Friday September 09, 2011 @12:04AM (#37348472)
    The patent office makes a profit -- over $1 billion dollars profit, in fact. Money that goes into the US Treasury for congress to spend how it likes. The patent bill just passed raises patent "fees" by 15% immediately. These are only partially fees, because of the excess. Now there is more excess. This is simply a tax on innovation. There is simply no other way to look at it. Where are all those Republicans who said, "no new taxes?" Where are the democrats who said they support innovation in this country.

    When Canada passed the exact same change 10 years ago (changing from first-to-invent to first-to-file) independent inventor applications dropped by 50% and have never recovered. This bill was pushed entirely by large corporations who don't want to pay the real innovators for their inventions.

    • This is simply a tax on innovation.

      No, it's a token fee that gets you a big, fat government entitlement, which you can then use as a club to stifle innovation.

    • Now there are many things that are wrong with this bill, but it seems to me that your post can't be right and is self contradictory in a sense anyway.

      Firstly: this is not a tax on innovation, it is a tax on patent filing. The two things are unrelated. If you innovate, then just publish your innovation on your web site or release it in a product and you don't need to patent.

      Secondly, I believe this actually reduces fees for very small inventors, allowing 75% reductions for "micro entities". That means

      • by dcollins (135727)

        "Thirdly, you claim this will increase taxes because fees will increase by and then claim that applications will drop by 50%. That seems to me to be a 42.5% reduction in taxation (1 - (1.15 * 0.5 ))."

        No, GP asserted that "independent inventor applications dropped by 50%", i.e., those from small non-corporate entities. Your calculation is missing a factor for what percentage of filings are from such small-scale inventors. I would guess that it's less than 15%.

  • ...to the issue, compared to how long the patent lasts. I believe creative destruction is good. If you can build a better mousetrap, I will gladly buy it. If you need lawyers to protect your product, you don't have a product.
  • by dizzysoul (2275254) on Friday September 09, 2011 @12:46AM (#37348616)
    I remember the idea of "first to file" (FTF) being explained to me in the past, although I don't rember where or whom. Basically, FTF doesn't trump prior art. If someone invents something before you patent it, the patent is invalid. This doesn't change. One of the big litigation problems with "first to invent" (FTI) over FTF is that, when two companies claim the rights to have invented something first, it take a HUGE amount of digging, research, and legal discovery to figure out. Especially when companies keep secrets and have long R&D periods; it's a tangled mess to figure out the exact timeline that grants patent ownership to one company or another. With FTF, you don't have this problem, because its blatantly obvious who filed first, and prior art is easier to prove in court. IANAL, so correct me if I'm wrong!
  • by alannon (54117) on Friday September 09, 2011 @01:55AM (#37348862)

    There seem to be a lot of people in this thread saying, "Oh no! Prior art is dead!"
    All this actually means is that somebody can no longer invent (or CLAIM have invented) something and then KEEP IT A SECRET (not sell, publicly demonstrate, file for a patent, etc...) and then, later on, after somebody else files for the patent, say, "Hey! I invented that %d years ago!" Right now, it seems to be pretty common practice for corporations to attempt to 'manufacture evidence' of non-public prior art. It seems like this would simplify patent disputes.

  • by dizzysoul (2275254) on Friday September 09, 2011 @04:38AM (#37349402)
    Steve Perlman, President & CEO, Rearden, OnLive and MOVA wrote a detailed letter to Senator Diane Feinstein, voicing his extreme disapproval of this bill. It's a good read: (PDF) http://www.rearden.com/public/110301-Steve_Perlman_S.23_Letter_to_Senator_Feinstein.pdf [rearden.com]

A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention, with the possible exceptions of handguns and Tequilla. -- Mitch Ratcliffe

Working...