What’s broken, patents or the legal system?
Thu, Nov 22, 12
Referring to the America Invents Act (AIA), aimed to cull low-quality software, the head of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, David Kappos says:
“Give it a rest already. Give the AIA a chance to work. Give it a chance to even get started.”
He’s mostly reacting to studies that claim patent trolls enabled by USPTO cost the economy upwards of $29 billion annually. While awards vary, what’s constant is the exorbitant cost of litigating patent cases. Large scale cases can easily run into tens of millions, taking months and years.
One way to make sense of this situation is to declare the very notion of (software) patents archaic and indefensible in the 21st century. But what if the problem isn’t the fundamental notion or the general utility of patents, rather the inefficiencies in our legal system?
If the legal costs associated with getting and defending patents were 10X cheaper and the process of adjudication much faster, professional and predictable, would we feel differently about patent claims?