Patent Chief claims US patent system isn’t broken

November 24, 2012
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Thoughts on the patent system aside, we’re all pretty tired of the constant litigation. OEMs are spending money and time in court battling one another instead of on their products. As it turns out, not everyone shares that opinion. Patent Chief David J. Kappos believes everything is working fine.

Yes, there was no typo. Despite some ups and downs, Mr. Kappos believes that our patent system isn’t broken and is functioning as it should be. A study conducted by the USPTO showed that over 80% of patents being used in high profile cases right now are valid. Apparently, four out of five is good enough for the USPTO.

According to The New York Times, Mr. Kappos talked about the patent wars with a little indignation. He defended the patent wars, stating that it’s just the process working as it should. As the New York Times put it, all these lawsuits aren’t a bug, but a feature.

So Mr. Kappos thinks there is nothing wrong with our patent system?

For the most part, yes. Mr. Kappos stepped back from his defense once to admit that software patents aren’t everything they should be. He’s quoted as saying, “We know that inconsistency in software patent issuance causes uncertainty in the marketplace and can cause threats of litigation that in turn can stifle innovation and deter new market entrants.”

That couldn’t be further from the truth. With Apple frequently obtaining patents on such bleeding edge technology as the page turning animation, software really should be given more scrutiny. Unfortunately, there is some room to disagree that the rest of the patent system is okay. After all, Apple was granted a patent for a basic geometry shape.

So for those who were hoping that the patent system would be changed up, you’re going to be very disappointed the the USPTO. While the words of Mr. Kappos bring hope for at least the software side of patents, it seems the system as a whole isn’t making any significant changes. Let us know what you think about that.

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