Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Wrong Kind of Patent Reform

After years of largely ignoring problems with the patent system, the mainstream press has recently been giving a bit of ink to reform legislation backed by Microsoft and a few other big technology corporations, namely the proposed Patent Reform Bill of 2005 and yet-unnamed legislation from Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-UT.

The proposed legislation makes several changes to how things are done, including moving from a first-to-invent model to a first-to-file model, providing a mechanism for challenging patents without going to court, and allowing patent cases to be heard in jurisdictions more friendly to the patent holder. As explained in today's Buffalo News these changes tip the balance of power further toward big corporations and severely disadvantage small and independent inventors.

Odd, isn't it? Independent inventors and small businesses have been complaining about inequality in the patent system for years, and no one in Washington has seemed to care. But as soon as Microsoft points out how difficult it is for them to defend themselves against patent infringement cases, our legislators start hopping. How do you feel about this? Let your representatives know.


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