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Patent Attorney Breaks Down Impact of the America Invents Act 142

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the ensuring-patent-lawyers-have-work dept.
msmoriarty writes "As you probably heard, on Friday the Obama administration signed the America Invents Act, which changed our system to 'first to file.' Support for the bill itself was split in the tech industry: Microsoft and IBM (among others) supported the act, Google and Apple opposed it. Redmondmag asked a patent attorney to explain in detail the act and what impact he thinks it will have on the tech industry. According to him, there are still many open questions. From the article: 'The Act has not accomplished [first to file] harmonization in a straightforward or unambiguous way. For example, it is not clear whether a prior use or offer for sale of an invention by an inventor or joint inventor within a year of the date of filing would render the invention unpatentable.' He also said that the act clearly favors larger corporations, and he doubts it will speed up the patent process itself, which was one of its intended benefits."
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Patent Attorney Breaks Down Impact of the America Invents Act

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  • Simple (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mensa Babe (675349) * on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @11:00AM (#37468544) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft supported it, Google opposed it. What more proof do we need that this act is evil? Propably none and even if some then not much. Nevertheless the articles linked in this story even if not bad in content still may be quite hard to follow for anyone who hasn't got an opinion on this matter yet. You can find much more information in the Wikipedia article: Leahy-Smith America Invents Act [wikipedia.org] and even more in the articles linked in the references [wikipedia.org]. I strongly recommend reading it all because otherwise we risk to draw uneducated conclusions from the aspects of this story that may seem obvious but actually are not that obvious for anyone educated in the intellectual property law. Some of the implications of that act would be rather scary so we really need to take some time to fully research the subject and unlike the Redmondmag, the so called "independent voice of the Microsoft IT community", the Wikipedia is actually worth reading.
    • Re:Simple (Score:4, Insightful)

      by elsurexiste (1758620) on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @11:05AM (#37468606) Journal

      Microsoft supported it, Google opposed it. What more proof do we need that this act is evil?

      OK

      I strongly recommend reading it all because otherwise we risk to draw uneducated conclusions... we really need to take some time to fully research the subject...

      If that's not ironic, I don't know what it is.

    • by alen (225700)

      google and apple like to do a lot of work in secret and then patent it or keep it secret for years.

      microsoft and IBM are the opposite and like to patent things as soon as they finish the work on them even if there is no product yet

      • by nschubach (922175)

        First to file encourages "bad"/"poorly thought out" patents? (Not disagreeing, it's more rhetorical...)

      • by Jonner (189691)

        google and apple like to do a lot of work in secret and then patent it or keep it secret for years.

        microsoft and IBM are the opposite and like to patent things as soon as they finish the work on them even if there is no product yet

        Neither approach is what patents are supposed to accomplish. Patents are supposed to spread public knowledge of actual inventions, not abstract ideas on paper.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      But Apple opposed it as well. Does that cancel out Google or does it add credence to Google is going evil. I'm so torn.

    • by Aighearach (97333)

      Microsoft supported it, Google opposed it.
      What more proof do we need that this act is evil?

      Normally I would agree. However IBM has a very good record with patents and OSS the past 10 years. IBM is now mostly a services company with little need for new patents. So I am not really convinced one way or the other.

      Probably we will need to see wait a couple years until courts weight in before we judge the effects.

      • Re:Simple (Score:5, Informative)

        by Desler (1608317) on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @11:46AM (#37469112)

        IBM is now mostly a services company with little need for new patents.

        And yet in 2009, they received 4900 patents and in 2010 they received nearly 5900 which is more than any other company. IBM has for 18 consecutive years held the #1 position in granted patents . Reality doesn't seem to march your assertion.

        • And yet in 2009, [IBM] received 4900 patents and in 2010 they received nearly 5900 which is more than any other company. IBM has for 18 consecutive years held the #1 position in granted patents . Reality doesn't seem to march your assertion.

          That seems like a strange misuse of funds, if they're not using the patents for anything.

          Although in the SCO debacle, they did whip out a patent for "hierarchical menu systems" IIRC. Talk about a "don't mess with IBM" patent...

    • > Microsoft supported it, Google opposed it. What more proof do we need that this act is evil?

      So pro-data-privacy laws, for example, where Microsoft might benefit (via data privacy functionality it builds into healthvault, for example) where Google would not (since its goal is generally to collect all data) are necessarily evil?

      The simple fact is that Microsoft has probably the largest patent warchest of any Corporation (not necessarily by dollar value--see bigpharm). They would be out of their minds not to support legislation favoring the big guy, and their board would have to be incompetent to do

  • by durrr (1316311) on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @11:02AM (#37468570)
    We're all fucked.
    • Nice try. I've patented the act of being fucked by legislation. And since I'm first to file, you're kind of fucked. If I give you permission, that is.

      • Nice try. I've patented the act of being fucked by legislation. And since I'm first to file, you're kind of fucked. If I give you permission, that is.

        Now that's Funny!

      • by frinkster (149158)

        Nice try. I've patented the act of being fucked by legislation. And since I'm first to file, you're kind of fucked. If I give you permission, that is.

        In the old days, the patent office required you to send them a working example of your invention for analysis.

        I'd say that legislation has certainly helped you out. Unless you are into that kind of thing. Which is cool. I've got nothing against it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @11:08AM (#37468638)

    "the act clearly favors larger corporations"

    Well, duh! Isn't that the sole purpose of all acts and reforms? More advantages for larger corporations?

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @11:10AM (#37468654) Journal
      Anonymous Coward, I must request that you cease your class warfare immediately.

      Strike all instances of "larger corporations" and replace them with "job creators" immediately.

      Thank you for your cooperation.
      • I'm confused. I thought "job creators" meant "rich people."
      • Both of you are giving away free content and clearly are violating some copyright law. I demand you send me royalties in the amount of 49 bajillion dollars. I would be willing to settle for a mere 49 THOUSAND dollars for a limited time though.

        Sincerely, Righthaven LLC
    • by DCFusor (1763438) on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @11:39AM (#37469016) Homepage
      Unfortunately, that does seem to be the case. Funny the cognitive dissonance when they mention how it's *small* companies that create most of the jobs and innovation. There is no way you can now break into the big boys club. They just patent everything they can, and while they hate each other -- they can cross-license at nominal or no cost. But a little guy with one patent who starts eating into their market share will always find they've patented about 10 obvious things they can use against him, as the days of anything being simple, covered by just one patent, are long gone. As durrr said above, we're all fucked.
      • by GodInHell (258915)
        See -- you're mixing your terms there. Small, in the political sense, is a reference to "S" class corporations -- businesses with small ownership pools that pay tax like a partnership (owners treat corporate income as personal income). The "S" stands for "small," but many S corporations are anything but small, as in money and employees.

        -GiH
        • See -- you're mixing your terms there. Small, in the political sense, is a reference to "S" class corporations -- businesses with small ownership pools that pay tax like a partnership (owners treat corporate income as personal income). The "S" stands for "small," but many S corporations are anything but small, as in money and employees.

          -GiH

          WTF?

          When Congress refers to Small Business owners they're only talking about S Corps?

          Can you give some sort of citation for that claim. That's a pretty remarkable claim, considering that 90+% of America has little or no clue what an S-Corp is and Congress discusses small business owners not infrequently.

          • by GodInHell (258915)
            It's in the language -- listen for how the discuss the impact of tax code changes on "small business." If the small business were just a small (as in employees) company, then it might or might not pay tax as individual income. However, if it's a "small business" as in S-Corp, then it will pay taxes as an individual.

            The GOP gives it all away when they talk about small businesses being harmed by raising taxes on individuals who make over $250,000.00 per year. Corporations don't normally pay taxes as indiv
    • Yep: first to file == if you have the resource to file quickly and faster than the other guy.

      FYI, big corporations have the cash and fleet of lawyers to file quickly. It takes cash and time to patent. And when you're doing to put bread on the table, takes longer due to the circumstances.

      The small guy, which has no just got kicked out of the system. USPTO has become a big-boy's only game. It actually makes us competitive against other countries, but not within our own boundaries.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Does it stop patents on life? No

    Does it stop software patents? No

    Does it work to prevent patent abuse by companies like Monsanto who use it as a weapon? No

    Does it stop patents on items that have been in the commons for years or even centuries? No

    This is more pro-corporate political theater at the expense of individual liberty, just like every administration since Reagan.

  • Meh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Aerorae (1941752)
    Life goes on. Corps always win in our system as it is. This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.

    SO FOR GODS SAKE PEOPLE STOP THE GRATUITOUS LAMENTING
    • by KlomDark (6370)

      So vote republican!??

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      It is only inevitable if you consider it inevitable. http://fixcongressfirst.org/ [fixcongressfirst.org]
    • by ediron2 (246908) *

      Yeah, because not only do we get all the fun of repressing our views, but They will hear us via our silence, in some sort of pseudo-zen handwavy way.

      For me, voicing or acting to make clear one's disagreement with policies is never gratuitous. It's civic duty.

    • by horza (87255)

      That's odd. Europe has first-to-file rather than first-to-invent, yet is less subservient to corporations than the USA. How exactly have they won?

      Phillip.

  • by KlomDark (6370) on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @11:09AM (#37468648) Homepage Journal

    With all the talk about how the US needs to out-innovate other countries, they throw a wrench like this in the works. With first to file in place, that cool hack you just came up with and put on your web site, without patenting it first, can now be 'discovered' by a patent troll, who then files a patent based on your work, and then can turn around and sue you for using something that you invented.

    Most creative people dont have the time or money to mess around with patenting their new ideas. This whole thing is just a bonanza for megacorps to steal all kinds of IP from the little guys who do most of the inventing.

    Complete crap

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @11:14AM (#37468692)

      The trolls could do that before. What they could do before, and could not do now, is pre-date the invention by 364 days, so that they could show priority over you. Of course that would be perjury, but the USPTO stopped prosecuting perjury on patent applications when they disbanded their enforcement division for budget reasons in 1974. No prosecutions since then.

      Filing a patent on someone else's invention is still itself perjury. Now, we just have to get them to prosecute that.

    • Actually, your website would serve as prior art to their patent, same as it would under the old law. They may sue you, but they would lose.

      • by vlm (69642)

        Actually, your website would serve as prior art to their patent, same as it would under the old law. They may sue you, but they would lose.

        Absolutely irrelevant. They only lose if the cost of protection money / licensing they offered was greater than the spectacular cost of legal defense.

        I could patent posting goatse on /., god only knows that has plenty of prior art. Somebody posts goatse, I make my offer. It'll cost $50K to defend yourself at which time I'll lose and you'll get the patent overturned and you'll get no legal fees back because I (or my corporation) are judgment proof. Or, you can pay me $100 for a license to my patent, and

        • by vlm (69642)

          Whoa there big time mistake on my part. I forgot to add that before the new act, false patent marking was financial suicide. After the act, it doesn't look so bad. So as a business methods patent troll, I don't even have to bother patenting "post goatse on /." as a method. I just have to threaten you that it I have done so. Then post my licensing fee as lower than the cost of you even hiring a lawyer to figure out if my patent is even valid.

          The two parts of the act turns patent trolling into a legal ex

        • by Anonymous Coward

          ...and how is that different from the old patent system?

          • by vlm (69642)

            ...and how is that different from the old patent system?

            Costs 15% more to file, but most of the punishments for falsely claiming a patent exists when it doesn't, have been removed.

            • by horza (87255)

              You are using a bait and switch. The rules on prior art haven't changed. They could do your described scenario before the new act came into force with the web site, and they can do it now. But they are doing it with a patent that has been granted where the examiner has missed the web site with the prior art. Falsely claiming a patent exists is a completely difference scenario. Whether punished or not it doesn't make any difference to the first-to-file vs first-to-invent.

              Phillip.

        • by Baloroth (2370816)

          So what you're saying is that we need legal reform of the way patents are handled in court, not just reform of the patenting system itself. That would be the only way to handle the "license is cheaper than lawsuit" problem. Maybe make the troll put up cash, which they loose if they can't show in court that their patent is valid? Making invalid lawsuits very expensive for the trolls.

          • So what you're saying is that we need legal reform of the way patents are handled in court, not just reform of the patenting system itself. That would be the only way to handle the "license is cheaper than lawsuit" problem. Maybe make the troll put up cash, which they loose if they can't show in court that their patent is valid? Making invalid lawsuits very expensive for the trolls.

            That requires (1) that you take away the legal presumption of validity given to issued patents and (2) that VALID lawsuits will also be VERY expensive for inventors. The more expensive it is to file, defend, or otherwise be involved in a lawsuit, the more lopsided the legal system is in favor of major corporations.

        • Absolutely irrelevant.

          Except for the part where your post was decrying the supposedly shameful new patent law, yet your rebuttal fails to address the fact that your hypothetical website would serve as prior art just as well (if not better) under the new law than under the old.

    • by Desler (1608317)

      *facepalm* First to file does not get rid of prior art requirements. Do you idiots even bother doing two second of research before continuing to spout this nonsense? Secondly that same company could already do that now so this change won't make any difference in someone trying to patent prior art.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        Did YOU bother to read it? it radically changes prior art.
        Hey, guess what? That coll hack you have and are trying to get funding for? Fuck you, we'll patent. What that, it's publish. Fine we will wait a year and then see if you managed to get enough money to get a patent, if not Fuck you.

        Seriously, read the fucking bill.

    • Is it no longer required that the person filing be an inventor? Because if they stole your invention, even from a public website, I wouldn't think they'd be an inventor.

    • by psxndc (105904)

      Complete crap

      Your comment is what is complete crap. Before and after the bill, a patent troll COULD NOT file a patent based on your work. As part of a patent application, the inventors have to file a declaration stating they believe they invented the invention. What you are suggesting would render the entire patent unenforceable due to inequitable conduct.

      You don't know what you are talking about, yet your comment was modded up. Disgusting.

  • by vlm (69642) on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @11:11AM (#37468664)

    He also said that the act clearly favors larger corporations

    Why? He never explained why. I realize they are the boogy-man now, so any time you want to imply something is bad, you imply its good for the big corporations, but the logic seems to be missing. I guess the argument is something like submarine patents will be harder to implement, but ...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      large corp has resources to patent everything they do. small devs don't.

      e.g. you make a cool app, put it on your website, big-corp sees it, copies it, patents it, and sues YOU for infringing on their IP.

      Chances are, they won't sue "you" (that would just be too evil, and wouldn't get'em moneh), but they'll probably still parent it, and sue their other-big-corp competitors, pretending to be the inventors.

      In other words, as a small developer who doesn't have resources to parent everything you do, you're pretty

      • by vlm (69642)

        Hmm that argument would fit in with the other part of the act which is to increase cost by 15%.

        But it works just as well with "individual" vs "small businessman" or "tiny business" vs "microscopically larger business".

    • by MrVictor (872700)
      RTFA FFS. He did say why. This legislation just empowers patent trolls like never before. Now, even if you thought of the idea first and implement it, someone else can patent it years later and sue the crap out of you. First to file, remember?
      • by vlm (69642)

        The set of all patent trolls are a subset of the set of large corporations? I don't think so. Not even "most" or "majority".

        That's my point. Why beat on the drums that large corporations are gonna be the problem, when all you need is an unemployed attorney with about $5K startup costs, and look, insta-troll.

        For a monopoly provider like microsoft, its not so bad, but a player in a competitive field like GOOG would get terrible PR, so "on average" the little trolls are going to be more numerous and more br

        • by MrVictor (872700)
          My point is this. In response to this legislation, corporations will shotgun sketchy patents for all sorts of ideas. That is what the guy in TFA is trying to say.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Yes but, you're ignoring the fact that under the old law, you could think of the idea first, file a patent first, and STILL get the crap sued out of you by a large corporation that claimed they invented it first (" this internal memo from five years ago full of randomly strung together buzzwords clearly shows we invented it first") At least under the new regime, as long as you file first (and were an actual inventor, not someone who just copied an idea), you win. And that's more aligned with the spirit

      • by Desler (1608317)

        If that is what he says than he is an idiot. Prior art still applies even in a first to file system.

      • by Zouden (232738)

        That's not what he said at all. The first to file rule doesn't override prior art. If someone invents something and publishes it, no one else can come along and patent it. However, if someone invents something and doesn't publish it (keeping it a trade secret), it can still be patented by someone else. This is a good thing because it encourages the publication of inventions, patented or otherwise.

        Now, the reason why this act favours large corporations is that it allows for a company to publish an invention

        • by geekoid (135745)

          If I invent it, and try to get investors, and it take more then a year, I'm screwed.

          • by delt0r (999393)
            Ever tried to do that in the old system? I know several folks who have had this problem with the old system. Sure this may not fix that, but then the old system didn't either.
        • by Baloroth (2370816) on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @12:47PM (#37469838)

          But, unless he omitted something, the "submarine prior art" can't be used to invalidate a patent, nor to claim the patent for yourself. All it does is make you (or someone you sell the "trade secret" to), immune to being sued. I'm quite confused how that is a bad thing. It doesn't give as much incentive to publicize the technique, to be used by everyone after the patent period, but given the way patent law was before, that didn't really help before. Basically, it seems that this just makes a company, who doesn't publish their art, immune to patent suits, as long as they were using the art in question, but they cannot invalidate a patent someone else filed. Again, this is unles I am completely misreading what he said or he omitted a major point.

          The only way this benefits large companies more than small companies is because large companies can afford to maintain and develop more such art. That is all. So basically it benefits large companies the same way as patent law in general does: they can maintain more of it. All in all, however, this (part of the) reform seems good, since trolls can't file for a patent afterwards and sue some company who was actually using it before them, but didn't publish it.

        • WARF, which holds ALL of the University of Wisconsin patents had a guy in the local paper talk about this very thing..
          If you publish it, you can claim prior art.. IN THE UNITED STATES. and that is a huge problem for lots of companies, that they don't even yet realize.. I can come up with something, Publish, and be somewhat protected.. Until people in other countries run out and patent my idea..

      • by delt0r (999393)
        In the old system you need to prove that you invented first... in a court of law, with a 1000US per hour legal fees? How did that work out for the little guy?

        It simply does not matter what system you have (first to file is cheaper to prove in court, and what the rest of the world has always used). If the only way to test or show something is with a 3 year court battle, it only supports big corporations.

        No matter who loses, lawyers always win. Note who the biggest defenders of this system are.....
        • $1000/hour is a lot for this kind of thing, unless you're bigpharm. It's worth noting that patent litigation--being in court--unlike patent "prosecution" (getting a patent)--can be done by any lawyer. You wouldn't want any lawyer, but it means the market is much bigger, so the prices don't have to be out of the budget of a corporation with limited capitalization.

    • by nahdude812 (88157) *

      He does explain why:

      As one example, the Act expands the Prior Use defense to patent infringement to apply to all inventions (it was previously limited to business method patent claims) in a manner that encourages those with sufficient R & D resources -- generally, large companies -- to discover, document, use in an "internal commercial use," and maintain as a trade secret new methods and/or materials producing a "useful end result" which can then be sold or transferred with impunity. If a patent application claiming the new methods and/or materials is filed a more than a year later by another entity, and issues as a patent, this prior internal commercialization, or the transfer or sale of the end result, is immune from patent infringement, and is protected thereafter so long as it is continuously performed.

      Basically if they do a large amount of internal R&D (most big tech companies), anything they piloted internally gets them a license to the tech. Even if you come up with an amazing new idea, if their R&D team spent any time on something similar, they can sell it commercially even though you have a patent.

      • by delt0r (999393)
        How is that bad. They did also come up with it, they did also invest in R&D, they also "discovered" the secret sauce. Why should they be denied the use of it because someone else did all that and just added a lawyer?
        • by nahdude812 (88157) *

          Because they have the resources to cast the widest possible net without regard to working out specifics or surmounting challenges present in the invention. Basically they are "inventing" in the sense that they think of an idea, and document it entirely internally (read: completely forgeably), then let the market prove the invention worthwhile. They can then pursue only those inventions the market has demonstrated a demand for.

          In effect they can let third parties take all the risk while they reap the rewar

          • No, see the "so long as it is continuously performed" and "commercial use" requirements. If they put the idea on the shelf for any length of time then they lose their defense to infringement suits. Just coming up with the idea or even constructing a prototype is not enough, they have to actually use the results commercially. They have to have proof of not only the timing of the invention but also its continuous commercial practice.

          • Oh, and the big company cannot transfer that right to practice to others, either. It has to make the patented item itself and cannot use outside contractors or suppliers to do so, since that is not internal use. Courts will likely interpret it that way since to do otherwise would effectively allow licensing to others by the non-patent holder, thus invalidating a valid patent.

            • by nahdude812 (88157) *

              Maybe you missed this part:

              ...or the transfer or sale of the end result, is immune from patent infringement

              Sure, they don't own a patent that they can sell, and they can't sue others for breaching the patent (so it's not an item in their patent warchest), but they can compete directly with the actual inventor without needing to pay royalties, including selling a competing product on the market.

              There's a loophole here big enough to drive a truck through. Even though they can't license this invention directly, they can still accomplish the same thing in effect. The third party is t

              • They can only sell or transfer the end result. They cannot grant the right to produce the item to others. That means they must produce it themselves, no contracting out the work on the patented portion. That makes it usually unattractive for big companies.

                Most will prefer to either file for a patent or block patents by making a public disclosure. (Some practical details will still be closely held, which still gives a competitive edge.)

                • by nahdude812 (88157) *

                  The loophole I mentioned is that although they must "produce" it themselves, it's not difficult to create a financially independent subsidiary which is effectively managed by some third party, in space rented from that third party and on equipment owned by that third party for a negligible amount, which then sells exclusively to that third party for prices reflecting what would have been the original licensing fees.

                  Let's say New Patent Troll Incorporated (NPT, Inc.) "invented" a widget (in the past tense, a

    • by NetNed (955141)
      How is it "insightful" if the poster clearly didn't RTFA? It's in there, go read it! He never explained why in a short snip-it from the much bigger article? GO FIGURE!
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      A few ways this favors large corporations:
      1. The "internal commercial use" allows a company to escape being prosecuted if they documented the invention and use of a patententable item internally but did not disclose it to the public in a patent but kept it as a trade secret. This seems to benefit large companies. I also think It seems to be against the intent of the constitution. Presumably it is to prevent an employee with access to trade secrets from disclosing them to a third party who then patents th

    • by Jonner (189691)

      He also said that the act clearly favors larger corporations

      Why? He never explained why. I realize they are the boogy-man now, so any time you want to imply something is bad, you imply its good for the big corporations, but the logic seems to be missing. I guess the argument is something like submarine patents will be harder to implement, but ...

      It's pretty obvious to me that the change to "file first" and "first to file" benefits entities with greater resources. Big corporations have people whose full time job it is to file for new patents. Small companies can't afford that.

  • Does anyone have a cost benefit analysis of false patent marking before and after the new act?

    Looks like before the act takes effect, false patent marking is pretty business-suicidal, and after the act it seems like little more than an annoyance.

    Can we expect that in the future most patent claims will be false, since it will be cheaper to lie than to actually do the paperwork? In other words it'll make more sense economically to stamp "patent pending" on everything and only actually patent one in ten thing

  • There is no honesty in politics, but can't they be stopped from false advertising? When they name something "Jobs Act" it doesn't mean there will be jobs, but if you are against the act on actual details of the bill, then you'll be labeled as if you are "against jobs".

    Same with the Patriot Act - do you think it's easy to be in opposition to a bill named "Patriot Act"? What are you, a terrorist?

    "America Invents Act" will only succeed in innovative litigation procedures.

    There are 152 PAGES in that bill. (PDF [house.gov]

    • by fnj (64210)

      I think you know the answer to your question "(how about abolishing the patent system?"). There's no MONEY in abolishing it. The thugs in charge on both sides of the aisle continue to contitute a sinister corruptocracy in collusion with megacorporations, in a death struggle against the interests of the people.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      abolishing the patent system would be horrid. Why don't you try being an inventor for a few years, then get back to me.

      Another short sighted myopic idiot for Ron Paul.. wow, what a surprise.

      • abolishing the patent system would be horrid. Why don't you try being an inventor for a few years, then get back to me.

        BTDT. I've had to scuttle two startups due to the impossibility of navigating the patent minefield without significant investor backing. Did you know every form of onscreen keyboard that's practical to implement is patented? The other product involved a VoIP system, a field which is also entirely patented, sometimes with multiple patents covering the same basic 'invention'. Without the

        • I'd have a product on the market if not for a bunch of sci-fi patents on a device that only became remotely possible due to advancements in battery tech in the late 2000s. As recently as the '90s the idea would have been laughable, and there are patents on all the concepts involved going back to the '70s. I really just wanted to build one for my own personal use and sell a few hand-built units to cover the development costs (and maybe go further if there's enough demand), but I'd risk getting my ass sued of

  • by fnj (64210) on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @12:02PM (#37469290)

    Microsoft and IBM (among others) supported the act, Google and Apple opposed it.

    I think that says all we need to know about the act. It's a big zero. The old situation was no good and this new act is no good either. Big whoop. The corruptocracy of government in collusion with megacorporations continues ... accelerates, actually. Regardless of which band of thugs is in charge in Washington, or even if neither band has clear control. You know why? It's a big charade. They are all the same band of thugs.

    • by alienzed (732782)
      well you're right. I mean, one party loses, but still has 50% control... and we wonder why nothing ever gets done. It's time to make government more local and less global. Let the people decide how they want to exist. And seriously, other than for profit, all this patent nonsense is holding the human race back. Innovation will most certainly continue even if patents cease to exist. It's called academia!
    • by thoromyr (673646)

      well, I don't have a citation to hand, but Microsoft filed for patents on the iPod. Under the old system Apple was able to obtain the patents anyway by immediately counterfiling as the actual inventor. Just on principle it would appear that a "first to file wins" system would favor any troll that analyzed your product and managed to come up with someone patentable about it before you did.

      In light of Microsoft's attempt to own patents on an Apple product I don't find their relative positions on this to be su

  • That congress can take money from it for other things.

    THAT'S the root of most problems. If congress would top doing that, they could hire more people for patent review.

  • He's saying that patents will be harder to file for smaller corporations, and that a large corporation is more likely to be immune from patent infringement if they internally developed something but did not disclose it before the small corporation filed, and so on.

    As far as I am concerned, the fewer patent "traffic" there is and the smaller chance of successful patent lawsuits, the better -- but not for him, since he gets paid more when there is more such traffic.

    If anything, I tend to think that a really b

  • It should be "first to invent", not first to file. This way, a company with a lot of money can look at your work, then patent it, effectively stealing it from you. If you don't have tons of money to patent every statement you write.

    Better still, it should be "no patents".

  • "Obama administration signed the America Invents Act"

    How does an administration sign something?

  • we screwed you all through a complex and highly guarded system of think tanks, policy centers, and lobbyists. to those of you who blame us, know that you are powerless and mute in our presence as have you always been. to those of you who blame the black person running the country, your obedience is duly noted. your television is working properly and serving its intended purpose.

    regards, The Capitalist Class(c)

    P.S. Consume.
  • by gstrickler (920733) on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @01:59PM (#37470650)

    From TFA: However, in the majority of cases (e.g., if there is no derivation issue), the America Invents Act implements a "first to file" rule, and I would strongly advise clients to regard the Act in that manner, and to promptly perform a prior art search and, if the invention appears to be patentable, file a patent application before taking any other action, particularly before using, disclosing, selling or offering the invention for sale. Thus, the rule should be "file first" as well as "first to file."

    Thus it encourages early filing and disclosure, which helps prevent people keeping ideas secret. Disseminating info to encourage progress is the primary reason for having patents, so changes that encourage disclosure earlier are good. This also helps simplify prior art claims in patent approval because unpublished prior art does not prevent the patent.

    The extension of the Prior Use defense is also a net benefit. While it does allow companies to keep information private (partially offsetting the advantages above), as soon as someone else files a patent application for the same idea, the company who kept it private loses the ability to patent it, thus giving them an incentive to apply for a patent rather than keep it secret. It does allow the company to continue to use their method without infringing on the patent since they were using it prior to the patent filing. You no longer have to worry about someone patenting what you're already doing and making you license it from them.

    There are other aspect of the overall act that are only beneficial to specific industries, and some that could be a disadvantage to individual inventors or smaller companies, so it not all good news, but first to file is a good change.

  • "...which was one of its intended benefits as claimed by proponents of the legislation."

    There, fixed that for you...

    -- Terry

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.

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