Hollaar proposes a new type of patent to address three problems with the patent system for the fast-moving high-tech industry: 1) it takes too long to get a patent, 2) patent terms of 20-years are often excessive for technologies that are replaced in a matter of a few short years, and 3) patent quality is harmed by insufficient prior art searches.
The new "limited patent" would grant protection from the moment the technology is first used in commerce, would last 4 years from that date, and instead of requiring non-obviousness, would require simply that the product be 'novel.' The novelty requirement would not be determined -- the limited patent would be granted as long as the paperwork was in order. Novelty could be challenged at any point by someone submitting prior art and paying a small fee. The limited patent would thus lose the presumption of validity, but give the inventor some protection while either pursuing a full patent or filing new limited patents on further innovations. The proposed limited patent would also allow a form of the independent invention defense, allowing those parties that could prove they had implemented some of the claims prior to grant of the limited patent the right to continue (but still excluding all others from practicing those claims).
Fees for limited patents would be significantly less than for a full patent application, since they dispense with examination and require very little work from the patent office. Limited patents help improve the traditional examination process by helping to build the prior art database.
The best part about this proposed reform is that it doesn't directly disrupt those who favor keeping the current system as-is; an inventor would be free to choose which type of protection they wanted to apply for, applying for either a traditional patent or a limited patent.