Thursday, July 17, 2008

Presidential candidates on intellectual property: BARACK OBAMA

Having looked into John McCain's IP platform, Obama's platform can be glimpsed at, which contains the following: REFORM THE PATENT SYSTEM: A system that produces timely, high-quality patents is essential for global competitiveness in the 21st century. By improving predictability and clarity in our patent system, we will help foster an environment that encourages innovation. So far, trite babble - timely, high-quality patents -no patent can be timely enough, due to the the IP explosion, the inefficacy of the globalized IP database and patent approval agencies. Giving the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) the resources to improve patent quality and opening up the patent process to citizen review will reduce the uncertainty and wasteful litigation that is currently a significant drag on innovation. peer review is a sub-optimal logistic solution to the problem of prior art handling at the Patent Office. That Obama starts off his solutions with something that most experts in prior art handling dismiss, is an indication that Obama is not challenging his academic advisors, but rather cutting-and-pasting what they are supplying him. Not a good sign for serious reform. With better informational resources, the Patent and Trademark Office could offer patent applicants who know they have significant inventions the option of a rigorous and public peer review that would produce a 'gold-plated' patent much less vulnerable to court challenge. Three sentences of solutions (these two, and one more), and Obama wastes them on public peer review to provide the PTO with more prior art. Nothing about stiffening Rule 56 so that applicants are required to do more searching, nothing about supplying examiners with better internal resources and tools to do better searches, etc. He is not being serious about patent reform. Where dubious patents are being asserted, the PTO could conduct low-cost, timely administrative proceedings to determine patent validity. I think he is referring to post-grant review. He is being silly here - timely administrative proceedings - that would be a first. And there were many legitimate complaints about post-grant review, which is why Congress couldn't find consensus in this year's patent reform bill. As president, Barack Obama will ensure that our patent laws protect legitimate rights while not stifling innovation and collaboration. three sentences of mostly rejected solutions to some of the PTO's problems. Nothing about healing examiner/management relations - something you think a Democrat would easily embrace and is a big problem at the PTO. Nothing about reforming PTO management, such as prohibiting future illegal appointments. Nothing about independent reviews of PTO performance in areas of quality and timeliness, etc. In short, Obama's position on patent reform is election-year pablum - sounds good while being of little promise to the future. Obama should find new advisors on patent policy, if this is the academic crap they are currently advising him with. I can't believe any practicing patent lawyers would suggest such ineffectual solutions.

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