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USPTO New Accelerated Review Process 218

Intron writes "Perhaps you have been lying awake worrying that your software patent on bubble sort might spend too much time being "examined" or "peer reviewed". You will be pleased to know that the US Patent and Trademark Office has launched their accelerated review process. "Applicants' submissions enjoy a presumption of patentability" says the patent office. Applicants are also responsible for disclosing any prior art."
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USPTO New Accelerated Review Process

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  • Efficiency. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @09:52PM (#18523659)
    Why take two years to produce incompetent results when you can be just as incompetent in a few months?

    See, I made a post without resorting to the "let's patent... uh.. air!" posts that are about to flood this page.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by FMota91 ( 1050752 )

      "We here at the US Patent Office value efficiency over bureaucracy."

      Aren't they cool!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by flyingfsck ( 986395 )
      I wonder why they don't just drop the whole cumbersome review process altogether? Just make a simple web form where anyone can patent anything.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @10:08PM (#18523823)
      We really need a comprehensive examination of the effect that patents have on the distribution of resources within large corporations. I suspect it may turn up some interesting results.

      We need to keep in mind that every dollar that goes to the lawyers who handle patent-related matters is one less dollar going towards the scientist and engineers responsible for research and development. And as we all know, it's the R&D that really has an impact on the world. It's this R&D that brings us the new products, techniques, practices and knowledge that help improve our lives, as well as better our use of our current resources.

      On the other hand, the legal departments of most corporations generates little, if anything, in tangible wealth. They're mostly just a shield against the legal departments of other competing corporations. IP-based lawsuits tend to be nothing more than a cycle of nonproductivity. The engineers and scientists develop practical knowledge, only to have the lawyers fight endlessly over who "owns" this knowledge, all while consuming huge amounts of resources.

      If the money that went to fight these pointless IP battles instead went to the R&D department, we'd likely see a great increase in the development of new technology. In the biomedical field, for instance, this could potentially lead to the creation of treatments for a wide variety of ailments. Now compare the benefit of such development to that offered by the lawyers. What we'll find is that the medical developments will offer a real benefit, while the legal developments will be little more than useless boxes full of paper.

      Economists often claim that patents are necessary to ensure innovation. But I think these same economists are overlooking the extensive benefit that could arise were resources not wasted on petty legal battles over these patents, but instead directed towards more productive uses.

      • by mabhatter654 ( 561290 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @11:44PM (#18524475)
        actually, quite the opposite. Sales brings in the dollars... not R&D. The Lawyers are next in line because they keep the dollars coming INTO the company and not OUT of the company. R&D in most places is a function of marketing and manufacturing lately... if they happen to patent something it's generally the Lawyers that get the pat on the back for making good legal use of the companies Intellectual Property... not the inventive person that thought it up.

        that's also why US businesses fail versus their Asian counterparts... the focus in 90% of US businesses is on Financial/sales growth not on actually making the product the customers BUY.

      • But I think these same economists are overlooking the extensive benefit that could arise were resources not wasted on petty legal battles over these patents, but instead directed towards more productive uses.

        Is it possible that the vast majority of patent disputes are settled quickly with a (cross) licensing deal and/or without a "petty legal battle"?

        I suspect patents disputes are one of those issues where you only hear about the big expensive problems and not the quickly resolved issues which are in the ma

      • by samkass ( 174571 )
        It's this R&D that brings us the new products, techniques, practices and knowledge

        R&D tends not to directly produce products. That's generally the job of some combination of marketing, sales, or explicit product managers. Confusion between a "product" and a "technology" is a pretty common problem at many high-tech companies, so I just wanted to clarify things here. Scientists, engineers, and other researchers do produce techniques, practices, and knowledge, though. Turning those into products, c
      • Which is why we shouldn't do away with patents, but make the process more thorough, and done by experts in the field. I have always advocated that we move to a system where multiple qualified academics handle the patent application review in their specialized field. Granted the standards of triviality will suddenly go through the roof, but wasn't that the original intention anyway, for a patent to be non-obvious to true academic experts as opposed to laymen? Of course, to ensure unbiased reviews, academic i
        • You are essentially proposing that we move the back-end costs of the system up-front. Instead of hiring all the expert witnesses only when a dispute actually arises, you want to hire them as patent examiners before there even is a dispute. I wonder if there is any evidence to suggest that this cost-shifting would result in a lower overall cost, and I personally doubt that it would.

          You also seem to be overlooking the fact that patent examiners aren't generally "laymen", but people with degrees in the ha
          • by cnettel ( 836611 )
            The costs within the system might increase. On the other hand, the very idea with such an approach would be to make those patents that are allowed more trustworthy, and limit their number somewhat. This could have positive effects, clearing the ground for small companies (and open source projects) that might currently actually spend time trying to avoid infringing on a patent that shouldn't have been approved in the first place. The "costs" of such defensive means that a much broader perspective is required
      • Here comes the war between privately owned knowledge and shared knowledge, private research and state-funded research, etc.

        Beware, you may be called a liberal.

      • If you have a big enough patent portfolio and lots of patents people need then licensing brings in loads of cash year after year. And for absolutely no new work.

        Now, I don't necessarily think this is a good thing, but hell, it's a major revenue stream for some companies.

  • by FMota91 ( 1050752 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @09:52PM (#18523663)
    Ah yes, now I can finally patent the array!
  • Is this a joke? (Score:4, Informative)

    by eck06 ( 725760 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @09:53PM (#18523671)
    (looks at calendar...) Nope, four more days until April 1st. Damn.
  • by techno-vampire ( 666512 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @09:55PM (#18523689) Homepage
    "Applicants are also responsible for disclosing any prior art."


    Nice thought, but that's not going to work. Prior art makes something less patentable, so it's not exactly in the applicant's best interest to report it. It's like expecting politicians to police their own ethics. Oh, wait, isn't that what Congress already does?

    • It's like expecting politicians to police their own ethics

      Heh. This fellow [slashdot.org] had it spot on.

      Every year, there is a proposal to implement this. What happens is, they spend a couple more million on "studies", and spend the rest on widening the existing...

      ...loopholes.

      How long have people been demanding an accelerated patent process?

    • by eric76 ( 679787 )
      It could work if there were extremely severe penalties for everyone involved in the filing, especially the applicants and attorneys, if prior art was later found. That means any prior art, not just that which they could have found with a moderate effort.

      If it should be discovered in conjunction with a court trial, then how about immediate revocation of the patent, the applicants and all attorneys and anyone else involved being personally liable for all of the defendant's legal fees in the matter, and none
      • by mdfst13 ( 664665 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @11:43PM (#18524473)

        immediate revocation of the patent
        That seems plenty sufficient a penalty. If there is undisclosed prior art, you lose the patent. Thus if a company wants a strong patent, the burden is on it to write the patent narrowly (to minimize the possible of conflicting claims from prior art) and do a thorough search for prior art. This would reverse the current situation, where companies try to write the *broadest* patent that they can get accepted and the patent office is responsible for showing prior art limiting the claims.

        Personally, I would like to see the patent office move from being an evaluator of applications to being an arbiter between plaintiff and defendant in patent infringement claims. If they accepted every patent application and only evaluated the claims when disputed, that would be a fundamentally easier job. Then the defendant would be responsible for discovering the prior art rather than the patent office. This is a stronger model, because the defendant is also the own who would suffer damages (and is presumably someone who has knowledge in the field). One of the weaknesses of the current model is that the patent office is not the one that suffers when weak or overly broad patents get through.
        • by kcbrown ( 7426 ) <slashdot@sysexperts.com> on Thursday March 29, 2007 @12:46AM (#18524799)

          That seems plenty sufficient a penalty. If there is undisclosed prior art, you lose the patent. Thus if a company wants a strong patent, the burden is on it to write the patent narrowly (to minimize the possible of conflicting claims from prior art) and do a thorough search for prior art. This would reverse the current situation, where companies try to write the *broadest* patent that they can get accepted and the patent office is responsible for showing prior art limiting the claims.

          In short, you think that the way things are right now should be sufficient penalty (hint: if prior art is found and accepted by either the patent office or the courts, the patent is invalidated). Sorry, but reality has already proven you wrong on that.

          The problem right now is that even with a weak patent, a company can strongarm others into paying up because the costs of defending a patent infringement suit are high and the probability of doing so successfully is low, thanks to the idiotic assumption of the courts that a patent is automatically valid if approved by the USPTO. In other words, the courts assume that the USPTO is actually doing its job, when the fact of that matter is that it's not.

          So the consequences of undisclosed prior art need to be much more severe.

          In my opinion, a finding of prior art against a patent should not only invalidate that patent, but should prevent all those who were involved in filing the patent from filing further patents for a relatively long period of time (say, 5 years), just like the grandparent suggests.

          Without such strong disincentives, the free-for-all that we've been seeing will continue unabated.

        • by metlin ( 258108 ) * on Thursday March 29, 2007 @01:26AM (#18524989) Journal
          Except that once again, people would be worried about going to court against a big corporation for a patent they own, even if they had the upper hand.

          Because even if you had a good enough patent, without a good lawyer there isn't much use defending it. And corporations can spend enormous amounts of money and time until you buckle under.

          Which is precisely the reason why your idea is a horrible one. If anything, it places even more power in the hands of lawyers.

          At least right now, there is some degree of protection.
      • Think that might work?

        Your ideas would be putting obstacles in the way of companies wanting to patent things.

        This is contrary to the USPTO's prime directive of selling as many patents as possible. That's it.

        It is effectively a government controlled corporate monopoly on idea registration and is contrary to the free market in every way.

        But we know that we do not and never did live in a free market society, especially lately.

        --jeffk++

    • The system works. Its objectives: (1) To allow big corporations to protect their oligopoly positions by creating barriers to entry. (2) To delay innovation, which was proceeding at such a rapid pace that repression and control weren't keeping up.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by timotten ( 5411 )
      IIRC, prior art declared during a patent application cannot be cited by the defense in a patent-infringement suit. A patent applicant who declares prior art will get a leg up in litigation, and that's a non-trivial incentive for an earnest patent applicant to declare as much prior art as he can.

      Of course, it only matters if the patent applicant expects that his patent will wind up in court. A patent applicant could bank on the significant cost and anxiety associated with court cases -- i.e. submit an incomp
    • They are simply handing responsibility to the courts. In fact, they could save a few million dollars by simply stamping *every* patent app, then let the oourts sort out the real ones when litigation hits the fan.
    • I was just thinking that's the problem with the process...
      If you assume a patent application is patentable, then the prior art shouldn't be the patent applicant's responsability, since he's actually having to prove he "isn't wrong"

      If you assumed non-patentability from a patent application, then it might work... Basically, he'd have to prove he's done his homework and show the unicity of his work. The USPTO might also need to stop viewing the "non-granting" of a patent as anything but a public service. Es
  • It's dead, Jim (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The patent system is broken beyond repair. Throw the thing out.

    I'd never start an engineering firm. Be it widgets or lines of code, I'm bound to be sued if I become successful. Patents now actively discourage innovation. Get rid of them!
     
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by yodhe ( 812188 )

      The patent system in the US was broken back in the nineties when the Clinton administration changed the funding for the Patent Office. Previously the Patent Office was funded out of the budget with application and licensing fees going into General Revenue. In the new "efficient" scheme the office was to be funded directly from the application fees. It would seem obvious to all but the most asinine idiot (ie. those not on Capitol Hill) that this is a recipe for disaster, encouraging the Patent Office to appr

    • Okay, no more patent system. I certainly hope you're willing to spend billions of dollars on public funding of medical research, since the average new drug takes about $1 billion to develop, and it's trivial for other companies to "reverse-engineer" once it's on the market. Yes, some drug companies are probably guilty of abusing their patents, but without a temporary monopoly, they would never be able to recoup their research costs.
  • Ripe for abuse? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LWolenczak ( 10527 ) <julia@evilcow.org> on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @09:57PM (#18523709) Homepage Journal
    Am I the only one who thinks such policy changes are ripe for abuse? Hell, I'll go patent breathing right now! That way, I can charge everybody a fee! Muahahahaha. Seriously now, this is just silly.
  • by jd ( 1658 ) <imipak&yahoo,com> on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @09:57PM (#18523715) Homepage Journal
    ...the USPTO outsources reading the applications to outer Mongolia, on the grounds that if they're going to accept them all anyway, what does it matter?
  • by the.metric ( 988575 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @09:58PM (#18523723)
    nothing.

    We all know that the USPTO aren't exactly fantastic at finding prior art and reviewing patent applications particularly well, especially in the software arena. Whatever the reason for this, passing it off onto the applicant isn't going to improve this situation much. Whilst the USPTO might not find any prior art in checking an application, the applicant has no real incentive to find prior art either.

    The only way it will make any significant difference is if an applicant doesn't submit an obvious piece of prior art, the USPTO find it in the accelerated review process, and then reject the patent on lack of detail in the application.
  • This is going to create an incredable amount of work for the judicial system. Not that they aren't tasked enough with lame cases or anything.

  • by swschrad ( 312009 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @10:02PM (#18523763) Homepage Journal
    the original legislation was to require those seeking patents to PROVE UNIQUENESS. therefore, this silliness runs counter to law.

    no patent for being able to write on a Big Chief tablet with a jumbo purple crayon, as the pinheads in washington seem to think is how it should work.

    and they ought to search prior art. if they can't find it, then maybe the USPTO should just declare a moratorium on new applications until they scan and index all the old stuff, way back to patent #1. to intelligently "expedite" handling applications, they have to be able to intelligently find prior art.
    • You are very, very wrong and misinformed. The law does in fact presume patentability. Also, applicant providing prior art is normal for every application and does not relieve the examiner of the burden of searching, even within the context of this system.
    • by eric76 ( 679787 )
      Prior art should really cover just about anything written in any source that may pertain to the patent, not just to research journals and previous patents.

      That is, to me, one of the most wrong-headed parts of the patent system.
    • ...being able to write on a Big Chief tablet with a jumbo purple crayon


      George W Bush holds that patent.

  • by andytrevino ( 943397 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @10:03PM (#18523769) Homepage

    They're infringing on my patent for an accelerated patent review system. I filed it just a few minutes ago through their accelerated process!

    • by eonlabs ( 921625 )
      If it's worth more to take it to court than to pay you the fines for your request, then it doesn't matter. If they take it to court, they will throw out your patent for prior art, and hold you accountable for the money involved in taking it to court. Just hope you get the people that decided on the McDonalds Coffee incident.
  • I'm ready to apply for my new patent on the act of replying to a message or story, by clicking a button that says reply, then entering text, and then clicking a submit button.

    This will be done after I apply for my patent on stress testing a remote web server by placing a link to said server on a highly trafficed web site and expecting all visitors to follow that link.

    And stay tuned for my patent on taking an email that you receive, and sending it to someone who is NOT the person that originally sent it to y
  • Wow... I do my own prior art search and have the presumption of patentability!!!! I am filing to patent the "doubly linked list" this weekend. I think Microsoft patented the "linked list" last week, so I will embrace and extend their patent :)

    It's all insanity. No wonder the US is no longer the Technology King. We spend all our time and money on lawyers and patent lawyers are NOT cheap.
  • It looks like America is trying to bolster its economy by trying to take IP to a whole new level. There must be a school of thought wholly alien to me, that thinks that if 1 patent is good, 10 must be even better!

    It might be that the U.S. is trying to bolster its position in the world by trying to a mass land grab at IP in the light of its waning influence/superpower status with China's dominance in the horizon.

    And the steps we are taking as a nation are the absolute worst ones - instead of fostering innov
    • That's interesting... yes, especially considering US patents are not enforceable outside of the US.

      Do you have another US-bashing angle, or are we done for the night?

      • But the US is trying its hardest to export its IP system to other countries.

        But I suppose any other criticism is supposed to be bashing to you.
        • But the US is trying its hardest to export its IP system to other countries.

          Yes, I'm sure the EU and China are just chomping at the bit to be good little pawns and adopt a system that is largely broken (at least as far as software goes). That makes a lot of sense.

    • by Proudrooster ( 580120 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @10:23PM (#18523923) Homepage
      Believe me, the US is now emphasizing science/math in the classroom. In fact, the new high school standards are going to see to it that next years 7th graders have no chance of graduation. The problem as I see it in America is not science/math but that the fabric of society (the family) is no longer stable and reliable. From an idealogical point of view, the problem with America is that we have replaced the ideals of Democracy with a quasi capitalistic system. I say quasi, because as more people lose at the game of capitalism, the government is becoming more and more socialist and wealth is once again becoming more and more concentrated.

      From a moral and ethical point of view in America, it is more important to win, be cool (tatooed, Razor Cell Phone, designer clothes, drink the right drink, do the right drug, ride the cool car/motorcycle), and be passively addicted to stupidity (Sitcoms, Youtube, MySpace, Text Messaging, professional sports, movies) than it is to be smart, hardworking, moral/Godly, and fair. America has largely become a consumer driven "me first", passive, and non-thinking soceity at a time when we need to be engaged in a moment of clarity about the long range plans for our country, livelihoods, and families.

      I apologize to my fellow Americans for being harsh, but we have got to 'kick it up a notch' or we are done.
      • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @11:50PM (#18524521) Journal
        "the government is becoming more and more socialist"

        I think the word you are looking for is fascist [wikipedia.org], I also think the behaviour is restricted to a powerfull minority that has fallen out of favour with the US public in the last year or so. We have seen similar political mood changes here in Australia.
      • As an ungodly young American who comes from a "nontraditional" home, please shut up. You don't know what you're talking about. It's just yet another version of "the current generation is going to hell" argument. Similar arguments can, and have, been made as far back as we can remember. The same people who are yelling about the decline in the "traditional family" are the same ones bringing about the conditions that are concentrating wealth in the hands of fewer individuals. It's a red herring. Some thi

      • "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

        Progress is often a process of creative destruction. When President Lincoln called the US "a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal," he meant a new kind of nation based on new principles that replaced the cherished principles of the past. The US founders included radical thinkers, such as Jef
  • prior art searching (Score:4, Informative)

    by Grond ( 15515 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @10:12PM (#18523849) Homepage
    A lot of posters are scoffing at the notion that applicants would do a very good job of finding prior art to submit along with their accelerated application. This is not actually the case, however, and the reason it isn't is why the accelerated patent program hasn't gotten much use yet.

    See, imagine that the putative lazy (or evil) attorney doesn't do a very good job of finding prior art and submits an application to patent something otherwise well known in the art. Sure, the PTO may grant the patent on the presumption that the attorney did a thorough search. But if the case gets litigated (which it likely will if the patent is really all that bad), then the other side will easily be able to point out the prior art that the attorney didn't submit. When the patent is invalidated as a result, that attorney is going to get sued into oblivion for malpractice. If the attorney omitted the prior art on purpose in order to get the patent issued, it's even possible that he or she could be censured or disbarred.

    That brings us to why the new program isn't getting much use. Because the patent will issue only a few months after filing the application, the attorney only has a very short amount of time to search for and find any relevant prior art the PTO needs in order to determine which claims to allow and which ones not to. Most attorneys don't feel like they can search the many millions of US and overseas patents in that amount of time (to say nothing of the countless other 'printed publications' that may be prior art as well). So the program isn't getting used very much.

    <rant>
    What would be a good change? Eliminating the presumption of patent validity and making the PTO into a simple time stamping/registration body like the Library of Congress. As it stands now, virtually all patents with any value end up at least being inspected by opposing lawyers if not litigated outright, and a great many of them are found to be worthless or of substantially less worth than they appear at first glance. Eliminating the presumption of validity would get rid of the massive delay and cost of being granted a patent while also pushing the initial burden of proof on to the plaintiff/patentee to show that his or her patent is valid. The loss of this presumption would make a patent less inherently valuable and the number of issued patents would likely actually decrease. Because the cost of initiating patent litigation would go up, the number of suits would go down as well.
    </rant>
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by blckbllr ( 242654 )
      Wow. Simply wow. You are so far from the mark.

      The reason why this accelerated program is not being used as much, is because it requires the attorney to make affirmative statements that distinguish the Applicant's invention over the prior art. Under the "non-accelerated" system, an attorney does not HAVE to do a search, and may submit an application with no prior art of record. The onus is then on the Examiner to find relevant art that alone, or in combination, discloses each of the limitations of all of
      • An application isn't assumed valid, however, according to 35 USC 101 [bitlaw.com], the inventor of a given invention "may obtain a patent therefor, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title". Translation, if you submit an application, barring minor informalities in the application itself, it is up to the examiner to show the invention is not eligible for a patent.
      • by Grond ( 15515 )
        As for this presumption that patent applications are presumptively valid, I have no idea where that comes from. PATENTS, not applications, are presumed valid. 35 U.S.C. 282.

        As the article summary says, applications submitted under the new accelerated process are presumptively patentable. Issued patents are, of course, patentable, and that's what my rant addressed. I'm not sure where your confusion came from.
    • by Compuser ( 14899 )
      Your rant is way off. If patent validity is strictly established via litigation
      then this puts a barrier to entry for small inventors. The current system is
      also bad in this regard, BTW, both because of litigation and because patent
      lawyers cost a lot just to file and prosecute a patent.
      What is the solution. It is a complex problem and requires a complex reform.
      1. Change USPTO pay scale to make patent examiners much higher paid people
      than senior industry people. That way the older scientists and engineers with
      • by Grond ( 15515 )
        In a perfect world, perhaps the reforms you suggest could be put in place. Unfortunately, I don't think many of them are practical.

        1. "Change USPTO pay scale to make patent examiners much higher paid people
        than senior industry people." I will assume that you mean a salary substantially north of $100k/year. Very, very few government employees make that much (think Congress, President, and the Supreme Court). The PTO has over 4000 examiners. That's a very expensive proposition.

        2. "Introduce a new categor
        • by Compuser ( 14899 )
          1. Expensive? Yes. Necessary? Doubly so.
          2. It is the right thing to do but perhaps would be hard to sell. Perhaps, a person or corporation that files a blatantly obvious patent could be banned for some time from filing any more patents. Kind of like what you do with DOS attacks and temporary banning of IPs.
          3. OK, we're on the same page.
          4. No, this is where you are not getting it at all. The submitter should be able to describe his/her invention in plain language and have this codified into claims by USPTO p
    • If the attorney omitted the prior art on purpose in order to get the patent issued, it's even possible that he or she could be censured or disbarred.
      Right, and the DMCA works so well because to file a takedown requires that you swear under oath that you are the copyright owner and no lawyers have been willing to sign off on anything without due diligence.
  • ... on the "Accelerated Review Process"; so back off USPTO!
  • by psykocrime ( 61037 ) <mindcrime@cpph a c k e r . c o .uk> on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @10:17PM (#18523887) Homepage Journal
    If anything, they need to find ways to SLOW DOWN the process of issuing patents. I mean, seriously, there should be *maybe* 3-4 patents
    granted, per year, worldwide, if we actually went by any realistic definitions of novel, innovative, and non-obvious. The world needs
    fewer patents being granted, not more.

    • I hope you're not suggesting there are only 3-4 inventions per year that meet even the strictest interpretations of statutory, novel and non-obvious. Do you seriously think so little research goes on in this world?
      • by Compuser ( 14899 )
        I agree with the grandparent. My definition of non-obvious is as follows:
        Suppose a patent, once granted is valid for X years. Then...
        an innovation is non-obvious if a given industry has spent at least X years trying to
        come up with a solution to a well-defined problem and failed, whereas the proposed
        innovation does solve the problem. Furthermore, the problem in question should not
        be quantitatively posed but must be qualitative in nature. In other words, just because
        no-one has made a car with 100 mpg before d
  • At this point, the patent process has become completely trivial, with the only hurdles and scrutiny occurring during litigation. So, this is essentially a huge gift to large corporations with deep pockets. The patent system will now completely become a game of intimidation and a dead weight on the economy. Amazing how the good parts of central government tend wither away with corruption until they become useless, whereas the bad parts of central government grow and grow.
  • I fully expect (like most Slashdotters) that this will be abused. But there is a germ of a *useful* idea in this - do the "accelerated" processing, then post the patent on a publicly accessible web site for 90 days afterwards. Allow people to comment, noting prior art that the applicant missed (or deliberately left out). After the 90 days, the examiners look at it again, taking into account any of the info from the public review.

    The patent system *does* need to be speeded up - the time required to obtain
    • by Shados ( 741919 )
      Now I wonder...who's paid the most... a monkey who's reviewing patents, or a supreme court judge...
  • If everything that walks in the door is presumed to be patentable and the applicant is the only one responsible for a prior art search, couldn't we handle the patent office more cheaply by installing a vending machine in every post office?

    The results would be the same, except we could avoid all the wait time and salery expense.
  • Just post your ideas on Slashdot, if slashdotters start screaming up and down about prior arts, you should not proceed.

    Maybe USPTO will start doing that?
  • Someone should patent the idea for an accelerated patent approval process. ('Why no, I'm not aware of any prior art!)

    Then we could force them to stop using the process! (Or at least, demand royalties!)
  • I found a rare photo [nvbdi.org] of the new accelerated review processing machine!
  • by defile ( 1059 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @11:16PM (#18524267) Homepage Journal

    No elected official is going to support a move to just invalidate every patent ever granted unless their campaign platform is How Much They Hate America(TM)

    No one's going to spend the time/effort reviewing existing patents for validity under new guidelines.

    The only way to fix the system is to let anyone patent everything and have the system collapse in on itself. A decade of courts being clogged in patent-litigation carnage ought to let a more reasonable standard emerge.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by kcbrown ( 7426 )

      The only way to fix the system is to let anyone patent everything and have the system collapse in on itself. A decade of courts being clogged in patent-litigation carnage ought to let a more reasonable standard emerge.

      <sarcasm> Yeah, because this approach has worked so very well in other legal venues, like liability. </sarcasm>

      A law changing the patentability rules needn't necessarily apply retroactively to existing patents. It's far better to let current patents fall by the wayside ove

  • Applicants have a duty to disclose to the USPTO relevant prior art of which they are aware. However, applicants are not required to search for prior art. Under the USPTO's accelerated examination procedure, applicants are required to conduct a search of the prior art, to submit all prior art that is closest to their invention, and explain what the prior art teaches and how their invention is different.

    So, if you try to patent bubble sort this way, and get caught not disclosing prior art which you as someone
  • Doesn't anyone else see this as a simple way to generate more income for the USPTO? It sure looks like it to me. More patents, more fees. "Prior art? We ain't got no prior art. We don't need no prior art. I don't have to show you any stinking prior arts!" (Apologies to Alfonso Bedoya, AKA "Gold Hat" in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948))
    • Doesn't anyone else see this as a simple way to generate more income for the USPTO? It sure looks like it to me. More patents, more fees.

      I think you're right. Years ago I worked for the US federal government and I think I have a pretty good idea of how this will work out. The feds are real good at protecting their own agencies. More patents is great for the USPTO. More patents means more fees. It also means more examiners have to be hired. More examiners means there is a need for more managers. Mor
  • Not New Program (Score:2, Insightful)

    Applicants have a duty to disclose to the USPTO relevant prior art of which they are aware. However, applicants are not required to search for prior art. Under the USPTO's accelerated examination procedure, applicants are required to conduct a search of the prior art, to submit all prior art that is closest to their invention, and explain what the prior art teaches and how their invention is different. In addition to providing and explaining any prior art references, applicants must explicitly state how their invention is useful and must show how the written description supports the claimed invention.

    It looks to me as a way for big business to get patents quicker. This process is practically no different than what use to happen. You always did a prior art search before filing for a patent because you didn't want to waste the money on a patent that will be denied. You even listed the prior art in the patent application. The only thing that appears to be changing is that the patent examiners aren't going to being doing their own search for prior art. This "improvement" looks like it will lowering the qua

  • One of the big problems with the "software" or "computerized business process" patents granted at USPTO is that many of them are very obvious to "a skilled practitioner in the field". This is the major factor that brings the whole area of law into disrepute.

    You know, maybe I couldn't have thought up the RSA algorithm on the spur of the moment after a moment's pondering of the topic,
    but for many of the US software or biz process patents these days, the inherent structure of the problem domain, analyzed with
    s
  • Applicants' submissions enjoy a presumption of patentability

    This is stupid on so many levels. You want to fix a broken patent system which lets through hundreds of stupid patent by making them easier to slip through ? For heaven's sake, this issue shouldn't be treated like cream with sugar, it should be treated like the worst dictatorship, every and each submission should be presumed to be junk and only if validity could be proved, should it be allowed to be passed.

  • this should end well.
  • The patent office makes more than its operating costs from patent fees. Instead of lowering fees or hiring new examiners, the excess goes into the general fund. This announcement amplifies their existing position of taking no responsibility for the results of their examination. It is also an artifice to justify raising fees for accelerated processing, where "accelerated" is a euphemism for "more hasty and slipshod".
  • #73401293458323 for a system of representing sounds using glpyhs, which we call an Alphabet(tm) has been granted. By my calculations, the posters in this thread owe a total of $87,043.51 in licensing fees. Please pay by check to: General Patent Enterprises, Inc. Attn: Patent Licensing Dept. 6123 West Covina Blvd, #3432, Newport Beach CA, 90232-1233. If payment is not received prior to June 1st, 2007, you can expect to hear from our legal team.
  • that shouldn't have been issued in the first place?

    This makes it way too easy to get a patent. Now you don't even have to search for prior art? That places an even greater burden on the patent office. Why should any examiner reject a patent now, if it means a great deal more work for him/her? If examiners are evaluated by number of patents they process, there will be a strong incentive to rubber stamp each and every application that comes in through this new system.

    It's foolish to set up a system that is so

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