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Back to Basics: Focusing on Patent Quality to Fight Patent Trolls
There have been many recent proposals on the Federal level to reform the patent system and fight patent trolls. As reported by the LexisNexis® Real Law Editorial team, “patent reform has been a priority of the Obama administration, and real strides have been made to correct some serious faults with the current system. In particular, through various executive orders, measures have been introduced to address legislative gaps that continue to encourage patent trolls.”
While many of the proposed fixes are promising, it is reported the larger issue that is causing the bulk of the troll problem is patent quality – the flood of overbroad, low-quality software patents. By acknowledging this is a key issue, a “renewed emphasis on patent quality acknowledges several factors that have contributed to the rise and influence of trolls and the current state of the patent system in general.”
The article goes on to say that a “focus on innovation” can help to diminish the growing “concerns about overly broad and vague claims that continue to this day. In fact, a recent study concluded that even under the current standards, about 50 percent of software patents would be found either partially or completely in valid if challenged in court.”
“All of the above has to take into account what was likely an unintended consequence of the America Invents Act (AIA), which was passed by Congress and signed into law by Obama in September 2011. The AIA switched the country’s patent system from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file model, which could potentially result in innovators forsaking quality for speed in patent applications. That’s an area in which the patent bar will have to be particularly vigilant if it wants to withstand the heightened scrutiny of the country’s newly refocused patent examiners—not to mention lawmakers and an executive branch that seems focused on vanquishing patent trolls once and for all.”
The above is a summary of the article featured from the LexisNexis® This Is Real Law website, the destination for law professionals who want to explore today’s hottest topics and share opinions on the issues that are transforming the legal world.
What do you think? Can the quality of patent documents be improved enough to make patent trolls less likely to attack?
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