While rereading Public Interest’s amici brief (pdf) regarding the PTO’s proposed patent rules, from last December of 2007, I came across a nonprofit organization that I had not heard of – Research on Innovation (ROI). The other signatures to the brief are heavy weights in the public interest field including Public Patent, Public Knowledge and Knowledge Ecology International. ROI is a much smaller org but has a lot to offer the discussion on public interest and patents. Here are a few details about ROI:
Website: Research on Innovation
Authors and Board Members: James Bessen, Michael J. Meurer
Blog: Technological Innovation and Intellectual Property (TIIP) Under CC-ND!
Topics: Patent law, Innovation
Post Frequency: Weekly
Comments: The content on both the ROI homepage and the blog TIIP are high quality and very relevant to the current state of patent reform. They have a clear mission to focus on Innovation with the public interest in mind. The only negative is that the site and blog are a little sparse on content, but when they add content it is worth reading.
A Time to Rethink
Patents as property was also front and center in the thoughts of one judge on the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the main appellate court for patent disputes in the US. Senior Judge S. Jay Plager, speaking at a symposium at George Mason University, called for a “rethinking” of several aspects of patent law by returning to its origins in property law.
According to the BNA, Plager “called for a renewed focus on setting recognizable patent ownership boundaries and on strengthening the notice function that patents are intended to serve. Such a reevaluation might require a reassessment of whether software and business methods are patentable subject matter, Plager said. It might lead to limiting a patent’s scope to what was known at the time of the application filing, and to an abandonment the doctrine of equivalents as a basis for patent infringement liability.”
In addition to rethinking claim construction,
Plager said he regretted the unintended consequences of the decisions in State Street Bank and AT&T. Those rulings led to a flood of applications for software and business method patents, he noted. If we “rethink the breadth of patentable subject matter,” he said, we should ask whether these categories should be excluded from patent protection.
This new thinking is certainly encouraging. Let’s see how it develops.
The block quote alone is amazing and extremely important due to the subject matter and the authority of US. Senior Judge S. Jay Plager. This is the type of thing that should be promoted by End Software Patents, rethinking subject matter for software patents and business methods is essential if we are to save the patent system.