Tuesday, 28 June 2011

US Patent reform: fears to changes

I was planning what to do during last warm long weekend in Madrid when I realised that the America Invents Act passed in Congress with a vote of 304-117.

Much has been said in the last days about the inconvenience of this reform. Most of the comments I have read refer to its negative impact. Some of those describe drastically the effects. How does it look if we put some of them together?

The anti-innovation patent reform act of 2011” “creates strong financial incentives for usurping patent rights by hacking and industrial espionage”, “could end up making it more difficult for inventors to defend their patents against infringement” and would be “dangerous to U.S. Security”.

Not bad, write?

Changes always cause fear. Modification of the system means that the new regime will have to be studied, bring some uncertainty and most of the times have economic effects (this Act has also been called the “job-killing Patent-Bill”).

I prefer trying to see the benefits and among those, the comment that brings the attention of this Patlit is the “attempt to keep patent battles out of the courts”. How this would happen? Damages regulation may have an important role. According to the Executive summary published in the website of the Republican Majority in Congress (here) “only a person who suffers a competitive injury as a result of false marking may bring a civil action in federal court for compensatory damages”. If this is correct, what would be the future of Patent Trolls?

If you want to read what do politicians say, you may like to read "The America Invents Act - Promoting American Innovation, Creating American Jobs, Growing America's Eeconomy" (here) (pdf alert)

In any case, experience show that changes are very rarely as bad (neither as good) as seemed.

We’ll see who is right.

What do you think?

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