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Why United States Patent Reform Has Stalled 139

ectoman (594315) writes Proponents of patent reform in the United States glimpsed a potential victory late last year, when the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3309, the Innovation Act, designed to significantly mitigate patent abuse. Just months ago, however, the Senate pulled consideration of the bill. And since then, patent reform has been at a standstill. In a new analysis for, Mark Bohannon, Vice President of Corporate affairs and Global Public Policy at Red Hat, explains three reasons why. "For this year, at least," he writes, "the prospect of addressing abusive patent litigation through Congressional action is on ice"—despite the unavoidable case for reform.
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Why United States Patent Reform Has Stalled

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  • Re:Politics (Score:4, Informative)

    by dcw3 ( 649211 ) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @11:52AM (#47222595) Journal

    You could make the same argument for Republicans or Democrats. You've simply chosen a position, and are claiming the opposition are all lunatics. Please don't pretend to be non-partisan when you clearly are.

  • Re:Uh, what? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 12, 2014 @12:49PM (#47223043)

    From TFA: "While the announcement came from Leahy, sources close to the negotiations all pointed to Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) as the one who really killed the bill." []

    So yes, yes Reid is the individual person who kept it from the senate floor. And you're right, it is nice there's a powerful figure for us to blame. Fucking troll.

  • Re:Uh, what? (Score:3, Informative)

    by gnupun ( 752725 ) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @02:26PM (#47224047)

    Umm, what centuries are you referring to?

    * 1776 - US Declaration of Independence

    * 1787 - US Constitution Article I, Section 8: The Congress shall have Power ... To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

    * 1790 - The Patent Act of 1790 was the first federal patent statute of the United States. It was titled "An Act to promote the Progress of Useful Arts."

    Link []

  • by JesseMcDonald ( 536341 ) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @03:18PM (#47224431) Homepage

    So once people say we will limit "abusive patent litigation" what does that mean?

    The canonical example of "abusive patent litigation" would be the case where someone else with the same problem came up with the same solution independent of your efforts, and you sued them simply because you happened to register your solution with the patent office first. This covers in particular all the cases of "submarine patents" where someone anticipates a problem and patents all sorts of half-baked variations on possible solutions without actually putting in any of the effort to make them work, and then waits for someone else to do the actual innovation and bring a product to market before suing for infringement.

    Independent invention should be an affirmative defense against claims of patent infringement. Put simply, if you developed a solution yourself, you shouldn't need anyone else's permission to use it. Naturally, the problem is proving that the solutions were really independent, since—unlike copyrights, for the most part—patents cover a very broad domain and two machines or manufacturing processes based on the same work need not show an obvious resemblance. A better solution would be to eliminate patents entirely. They don't really work to encourage innovation, they can't be implemented without violating people's natural rights, and they distort the entire economy for the sake of a mere incentive program.

Space is to place as eternity is to time. -- Joseph Joubert