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Why The New Patents Bill Doesn't Go Far Enough

Authored by: Steven Blum — Sep 19, 2011

It's official; on Friday, Barack Obama signed the "America Invents Act," a set of legislation that promises to alter the way companies patent their ideas.

The new patent bill, however, won't affect existing lawsuits by the likes of Apple, Samsung, HTC and Motorola which have ensnared the entire mobile phone industry as of late. 

It also still leaves companies to secure dubious patents like "the combover haircut" and "crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches" (two things that were actually patented!)

The Electronic Fronteir Foundation has argued that the new legislation helps big businesses most of all, since they can monitor new patent applications and pay lawyers to be on the lookout for possible patent infringements. The law also doesn't help app developers being sued by the likes of Lodsys.

That said, the bill does create new pathways for companies to challenge patents before they go on the books. Third parties can now introduce so-called "prior art," or proof of the invention's redundancy, to block patents from being issued, and the bill introduces new frameworks for challenging patents in a "post-grant review process"

The bill also helps streamline the patenting process by hiring new workers at the patent office to review applications, which could expedite patents for new businesses. 

But app developers can't expect it to protect them from patent sharks, and Samsung certainly can't expect it to help them from Apple. The entire patents system in America is still a big, fat mess.


Obama Expected to Sign "Historic" Patents Bill

Source: WIRED

Steven Blum has written more than 2,000 blog posts as a founding member of AndroidPIT's English editorial team. A graduate of the University of Washington, Steven Blum also studied Journalism at George Washington University in Washington D.C. for two years. Since then, his writing has appeared in The Stranger, The Seattle P-I, Blackbook Magazine and Venture Villlage. He loves the HTC One and hopes the company behind it still exists in a few years.

1 Comment

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  • I agree Steven, but to paraphrase Churchill, this is perhaps the end of the beginning.
    One can hope the best, but in reality though the world is pretty darn close to being a corporatocracy (lobbyism, anyone?).
    Patents are also big money, so we can see where this may be headed, even if the bill appear to be a small victory.

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