Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 4th Jun 2013 12:45 UTC
Legal Ah, patents - the never-ending scourge of the technology industry. Whether wielded by companies who don't actually make any products, or large corporations who abuse them because they can't compete in the market place or because they're simply jerks, they do the industry a huge disservice and are simply plain dangerous. According to The Wall Street Journal (circumvention link), president Obama is about to take several executive actions to address patent trolls - which may seem like a good idea, but I am very worried that all this will do is strengthen the positions of notorious patent system abusers such as Apple and Microsoft.
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The actual proposed measure
by Tony Swash on Tue 4th Jun 2013 19:02 UTC
Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

These are the five executive actions, some look quite good.

Tighten functional claiming: requiring patent applicants to explain their inventions better and to limit those inventions to a specific way of accomplishing a task, as opposed to all ways of accomplishing a task. This is an important (and obvious) fix that should help stem the tide of overbroad software patents and increase patent quality.

Fix transparency: requiring patent owners to update records at the Patent Office with the patent's real owner. Taking away secrecy takes away one of the patent troll's favorite weapons.

Empower downstream users: ending the abuse associated with targeting end users, such as small businesses, startups, and even individuals who find themselves facing lawsuit threats and licensing demands for simply using everyday products. As the White House puts it: "End-users should not be subject to lawsuits for simply using a product as intended, and need an easier way to know their rights before entering into costly litigation or settlement." We couldn’t agree more.

Expand dedicated outreach and study: working with members of the community, including third-party stakeholders, to address flaws in the system. This would include increasing scholarly programs at the Patent Office, something that if done right could have a direct positive effect on patent quality by bringing in big thinkers to address systemic problems at that office.

Strengthen enforcement of exclusion orders: streamlining procedures for imported goods that are found to infringe U.S. patents.

In addition to the executive actions there are also seven legislative proposals

Edited 2013-06-04 19:02 UTC

Reply Score: 3

JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

What about continuations? They have been shown to be a good tool to broaden a patent, by "Oh... we actually meant that, not this".

End-users should not be subject to lawsuits for simply using a product as intended

That is not necessarily true. Consumer products most definitely have to be under such rules, however it gets tricky with commercial and industrial equipment.

Reply Parent Score: 2