Congress should implement comprehensive patent reform that--The first two of these suggestions have been floated before, and are likely to be a part of almost any proposed reform package. The last two are truly interesting, and indicate that Congress has heard some of our complaints.
(A) establishes a first-inventor-to-file system;
(B) institutes an open review process following the grant of a patent;
(C) encourages research uses of patented inventions by shielding researchers from infringement liability; and
(D) reduces barriers to innovation in specific industries with specialized patent needs.
Specifically, we know that patents have had an extremely chilling effect on science, with 40% of research adversely affected by patent monopolies, and roughly 1 out of every 5 research projects being canceled outright. To those of you who wrote to your representatives about this startling fact, you can take item (C) from the above list as proof that, once in a while, our elected officials do listen to us.
Item (D) is also of interest, as it hints that Congress may be beginning to understand that not all intellectual monopoly is equal, and in particular, that there is now a general recognition that software patents and business method patents should be treated much differently that patents on physical devices. Once again, if you've written to your representatives regarding this issue, take heart.
If you have not yet written, today is a good day to send a nice letter to your Senators and Congressional Representatives, urging them to support and/or draft legislation that shields researchers from infringement claims, and which improves the fairness of the system with regard to overly broad and excessively long-lived patent monopolies granted for algorithms and business methods. As always, feel free to cut & paste any text from any article here at Right to Create in composing your letters.
And, if you have written in the past, please do so again, today. Nothing but continual pressure will bring about the meaningful reform that we truly need. Without your letters, the only ones pushing on our officials will be the expensive lobbyists paid by corporate America.