Other patents

Other types of patents that depend on manipulations of nature (tangible machines, manufacturing processes, chemical compositions like pharmaceuticals, etc).

NYTimes - most patents not worth the cost

The New York Times reports on a study analysing data from 1976 to 1999 comparing the costs of patent litigation to the profits generated by patents. The conclusion of the study is that patents are worthwhile for the pharmaceutical industry but that's about it.

“Today, over all, patents don’t work; for the information technology industry especially, they don’t work,”

Note that they're not saying that companies shouldn't apply for patents, but that the total cost to the industry outweighs the total benefits, and so patent reform of some kind is needed.

Patent law changes power ahead in US Congress

An article by Anne Broache, Staff Writer, CNET News.com, discusses some bills in the USA that aim to reduce the massive failures in the US patent system.

Improvements: First to file to match international patent community, creation of a "post-grant opposition" board to more cheaply weed out poor quality patents, restrict acceptable venues for filing patent suits, and reducing remedies able to be claimed against "infringers".

PUBPAT News: Key HIV/AIDS Drug Patents To Be Reviewed By U.S. Patent Office

KEY HIV/AIDS DRUG PATENTS TO BE REVIEWED BY U.S. PATENT OFFICE: Prior Art Submitted by PUBPAT Raises Substantial Doubt Regarding Validity of Gilead Sciences Claims

New York, NY -- July 18, 2007 -- The Public Patent Foundation ("PUBPAT") announced today that the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has granted each of PUBPAT's requests to review four key HIV/AIDS drug patents held by Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD). The patents relate to the drug known generically as tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF), a key weapon in the battle against HIV/AIDS. Gilead markets TDF in the United States under the brand name VIREAD and as a part of its ATRIPLA combination product.

Court ruling triggers IT patent panic?

In an article by Briony Smith for IT World Canada, John Reid, president of the CATA Alliance, is quoted with regards to a recent court ruling requiring additional data to confirm patentability.

Mr. Reid said, "This does affect all of the advanced technology sector, when it comes to patent protection—it affects any product that requires patent protection, which is everything". (See also: CATA press release)

I have not read the case yet, but from the article alone I must disagree with Mr. Reid.

Patent sought on 'synthetic life' / Terminator seed ban in Canada?

There is an article on the BBC website talking about a corporate scientist wanting to get a broad patent on the method they plan to use to create 'synthetic life'. The article pointed at the Ottawa-based ETC Group, so I contacted them as well.

This is one of those areas where my work in the technology law areas of PCT and my other interests intersect.

Bush's proposals for global meeting on climate change counter-productive

A Reuters article distributed by CNet talks about how Bush opposes the "cap and trade" system that would internalize carbon into a free market economy. Instead he supports cuts in tariff barriers to encourage sharing environmental technology.

This would be a joke if it were not so dangerously serious an issue. US companies have many patents on environmental technologies, with a reduction of tarrifs being counter-productive compared to the better option of compulsory licensing of these patents.

Brazil puts patients before patents, rejects Bush administration pressure

A The Huffington Post article by James Love puts some of the recent patent issues in context.

Outside of the U.S., when Thailand or Brazil decide to allow non-voluntary use of a patent, we call it a compulsory license, and a smug U.S. and European press talk about the lack of respect for intellectual property in certain developing countries (the ones that dare to issue compulsory licenses).

In the U.S. the WJS and others call the non-voluntary use of a patent something else -- patent reform.

While the Special 301 report isn't specifically mentioned, Canadians need to realize that being put on this list doesn't mean you are disrespecting the rights of authors of inventors, but in many cases are simply protecting the public interest in ways that the USA would be better served to follow.

Jim Rapoza on recent US Patent Rulings

Jim Rapoza of eWeek published an article summarizing both of the recent US court cases on patents.

Some things just go together, like bread and butter or bacon and eggs or peanut butter and jelly. Everyone understands this because it's obvious.
And while ideas like this have traditionally been able to sail through the patent system and then be used to stifle competition and true innovation, they aren't any more inventive than bacon and eggs on a square plate.
This was another common sense area where you kind of say, duh, if the patent isn't legal in a certain country then you can't use it. In this case, I was glad to see the Court rule in favor of Microsoft and agree that a United States-based patent is just that, and not a global patent no matter what the laws of other countries say.

A person of ordinary skill not an automaton: U.S. Supreme Court on Patent Policy

James Love has an article in the Huffington Post BLOG that offers important commentary on the U.S. Supreme Court decision on the test for novelty for US patents. It documents some of the harmful patent policies of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the 25 year old United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (the CAFC) that was granted jurisdiction over US patent law. This has been a clear case of regulatory capture of two bodies which have favoured the special interests of patent lawyers and patent holders over the interests of the economy and country as a whole.

US courts improving US patent law?

Two good-news articles today. One discusses how the US Supreme Court stated that Microsoft didn't have to pay software patent royalties when copies of Windows are made and installed on computers abroad, and a second where the US Supreme Court loosens patent 'obviousness' test which should reduce some of the poor quality patents retained by the USPTO. Both are important improvements to the courts interpretation of US patent law.

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