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US Congress moves to rewrite patent laws

"Crustless peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, a way to move sideways on a swing, a technique for exercising cats using a laser pointer — these are among the inventions patented in the United States over the years. Now Congress is trying to cut down on poor-quality or downright ridiculous patents, and at the same time adapt the patent system to a high-tech era in which computers and other electronic devices may contain thousands of patentable parts.

Rather than the patent system being the incentive for "so much of our innovation, it has become a constraint on innovation," said Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., author of a sweeping patent reform bill that passed the House Judiciary Committee on July 18." -- Read more

Some sort of a patent reform is long overdue. However it will be interesting to see how much will it affect software patents considering that nothing but the abolition of software patentability can be a satisfactory long term solution.


Call me skeptical but I


Call me skeptical but I wouldn't be surprised if the end result is to tilt the field further in favour of big money. There's no sign of the little guy among the problems trumpeted as motivation for reform.

Edit: Holy crap, replacing "first to invent" with "first to file" is only clicking with me now. Apart from the fact that it makes filing a race where money buys pace, it means if you innovate you are compelled to file for a patent, because if you don't, someone else can copy your invention, file, and charge everyone including you for using your invention! That can't be what they're proposing, can it?

Doesn't sound like a very

Doesn't sound like a very good reform to me either. I paused at that one as well (first to file being the ones accepted), but then I was thinking.. wasn't it pretty much the same so far anyway? The patents office has been admitting all kinds of really obvious and stupid patents regardless of common sense and obviously possible existence of prior art. I guess they're just making this corruption official now. Although that does make it significantly worse as it removes what little basis there was to fight this nonsense.

They do, however, supposedly promise making it easier to invalidate a patent once it has been admitted so we could see some first filers getting a patent on something just for this patent to be invalidated some time later which ironically adds to the administrative burden they're surely hoping to cut.

Makes you wonder what all those people in congress are thinking.

Maybe they're thinking


Maybe they're thinking "campaign funding relates to corporate profits, corporate profits relate to ease of using the patent system". I wonder how much the small innovator figures in their deliberations.

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