Thursday, July 24, 2008

Texas Republicans issue a platform statement

A recent addition to the Texas Republican Party Platform: American Patent Rights We support protecting our inventors, enforcing our patent laws, and strengthening penalties for patent law violations by foreign entities. Democrats outright clamor that this resolution of the Texas Republican Party is in marked contrast to the position of several Republican members of the Texas Congressional Delegation. The self-styled Patent Reform Act of 2007 was a $6.5T direct attack on the constitution and economy as well as the inventive minds of the USA. Perhaps this platform plank will serve as a gentle admonition to the Texas Delegation. Their actions regarding this vital political issue were fatally flawed. They have some fence mending to do back home.

Germany invalidates Qualcomm's GSM patent

News agencies report that the German Federal Patent Court, following in the footsteps of the U.S. International Trade Commission and the UK High Court, has ruled that a Qualcomm GSM patent being asserted against Nokia is invalid. It looks like a new definition for patent opinion asserting a patent that has been multiply-declared is to be invalidated.

Patent attorney's WSJ letter defends current patent system

Patents Aid Innovation Most Times (Wall Street Journal, Letter to the Editor, July 21, 2008; Page A12) In "Patent Gridlock Suppresses Innovation" (Information Age, July 14), L. Gordon Crovitz asserts "that for most industries today's patent system does more harm than good." He paints with too broad a brush. The "most industries" he refers to are those heavily involved with software, e.g., Verizon, Cisco ,Google, RIM and HP, which he cites. Such companies have indeed suffered grief because of patents on software and so-called "methods of doing business," like double-clicking something to place an order. Some nonsense follows. Much of this grief has been self-inflicted - these companies holding basic tenets of the patent system in contempt. In contrast to companies heavily involved in software, those that make physical "things", e.g., pharmaceuticals, 3M, Corning, and others, see no need for drastic reform. Mr. Crovitz also laments that patent litigation costs are "huge". Others have made that observation, e.g., Wilbur and Orville Wright, Glenn Curtiss, Samuel Morse, Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Bessemer and Dr. Edwin Land, to name a few. Yet those folks and others have endured the cost because, if you've invented an industry and appropriately are making some money (not a bad thing), someone will always try to take a piece of the action. As some have said, "it's cheaper to litigate than to do basic R&D." In sum, the patent system has been and is now the greatest motivator for the development of new technology. If it is to be tinkered with, the tinkering should be limited to solving the real problem. A.L. Michaelsen Patent Attorney Hammondsport, N.Y.