A good explanation of what’s wrong with the patent system in the US, and why. Better yet, it includes some real proposals for fixing the problem. Thanks JohnK for the pointer.
Our proposed reforms start with the recognition that much of the information needed to decide if a given application should be approved is in the hands of competitors of the applicant, rather than the USPTO. A review process with multiple levels efficiently balances the need to bring in outside information with the reality that most patents are unimportant. Multilevel review — with barriers to invoking review increasing at higher levels, along with the review’s thoroughness — would naturally focus attention on the most potentially important applications. Most patents would never receive anything other than the most basic examinations. But for those applications that really mattered, parties would have an incentive and opportunities to bring information in their possession before the USPTO, and the USPTO would have more resources to help it make the right decision. (Changes in this direction are at the heart of the patent reform bill currently under consideration in the House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property.)