Democracy and Technology Blog

Patently absurd II

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Patently absurd II

More good sense (sub. req.) on intellectual property from Profs. Adam Jaffe and Josh Lerner. They offer more examples of frivilous patents…

“such absurdities as patents on wristwatches (paw-watches?) for dogs, a method of swinging on a swing (“invented” by a five-year-old), peanut butter and jelly sandwiches…[and]…broad ideas related to mobile email — virtually devoid of any details of implementation — that have imposed a $612 million tax on the maker and users of BlackBerries.”

…Then Jaffe and Lerner offer simple, structural solutions to correct most of the system’s worse offenses:

“(1) changing the USPTO review process so that the determination of whether a patent application is really new is made with as much information as practical about what related technology is already out there; and (2) leveling the playing field between litigants so frivolous patent holders cannot intimidate true innovators into paying protection money.”

-Bret Swanson