Thursday, April 06, 2006

Congressional Oversight Hearing on Patent Quality

The Committee on the Judiciary held an oversight hearing yesterday on the topic of patent quality (you can read testimony or listen to the proceedings at their website). John Dudas, Director of the USPTO, outlined some of the internal reforms that they are trying to use to accomplish the goal of improving quality, but it is clear from the testimony of the other three witnesses that the job of patent reform is much bigger than the USPTO. James Balsillie, Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer, Research in Motion, Robert A. Stewart Director and Chief Patent Counsel of Americas, UBS AG, and Mark A. Lemley William H. Neukom Professor of Law, Stanford Law School all testified about some striking problems in the current system, and proposed many useful measures to alleviate these problems. If you want your eyes opened to the true costs of patent trolling, take a look at Balsillie's testimony.

While there are more drastic reforms that we'd love to see pushed through, the ideas brought to Congress's attention during these hearings would certainly help. Let's hope that our elected officials can draft some reform legislation with real teeth in it.


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