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An experienced strategic marketer and editorial professional, and an engineer by education, Don is currently a blogger, speaker, and author on social computing topics, and a marketing strategy consultant. He's had previous gigs at Embedded Computing Design magazine, Motorola, and General Dynamics.

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Opinion: The New U.S. Patent System Will Stifle Innovation

Posted September 19, 2011 9:08 AM by dondingee

The storied history of American technological innovation by gifted individuals may have come to a smashing halt last Friday with the passage of HR1249, euphemistically known as the America Invents Act which moves the US to a "first-to-file" patent system.

This will make life much easier for the Googles, IBMs, and Microsofts of the world. It wasn't coincidence that we've seen an uptick in patent-stockpiling lately, with major patent portfolios changing hands for high prices.

This is probably one of the more dramatic changes to hit the American high tech industry since the invention of the transistor, and while it helps the prospects of the large tech firms it may have severe consequences for technology innovation and job creation going forward.

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#1

Re: Opinion: The New U.S. Patent System Will Stifle Innovation

09/19/2011 6:05 PM

Deleted due to inclusion elsewhere.

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Re: Opinion: The New U.S. Patent System Will Stifle Innovation

09/19/2011 11:20 PM

The patent game has been viable for the Big Boys Only club for a long, long time. This just further locks the small operator out of the picture, and thus will stifle innovation and generally impede job creation...

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Re: Opinion: The New U.S. Patent System Will Stifle Innovation

09/19/2011 11:32 PM

Does first to file mean filing innovative idea or including drawings and design details?. I recommend the first.

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Re: Opinion: The New U.S. Patent System Will Stifle Innovation

09/20/2011 9:27 AM

I've been thinking about this one, and I've been torn on how I feel about it.

Here's what I've decided:

I think it could actually save small time inventors money in the long run. Why?

  • 1) Most small inventors make money from their invention, (not many do), by selling it to a big player. The chance of a little guy getting rich by starting his/her own company around his/her invention and hitting the big time, is about like learning to play the guitar and getting rich and famous in a rock band.
  • 2) Being the first to invent only affords the small time inventor the opportunity to sue in court someone that stole the idea. Most don't have the funds to sue, especially if it is a big player you're going after, and a lawyer is very unlikely to take the case on contingency unless they are absolutely convinced that it's a slam dunk.
  • Bottom line..................If a person comes up with something that they think is worth a lot of money, file a provisional. It's not expensive. Use the time that the provisional buys to either, A) Get some nondisclosure forms and get out and sell it to a big player, or B) Do your research, get funding, and make darned sure you can make money from it before proceeding to the actual patent process. If you can't make money from it...................it's worthless..........drop it.
  • Sorry for the weird format. I played around with those column thingies and this is what I got.
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#5
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Re: Opinion: The New U.S. Patent System Will Stifle Innovation

09/20/2011 10:18 AM

Regarding your formatting:

If you look at the tool bar above the window where you type in your message you will see what looks like a green camera...to the right is an icon of three dots with lines after them....to the right of that is a vertical list of 1,2,3 with lines after them. You can use that icon to format your text.

  1. Type in the first line that you want to be in your list.
  2. Highlight the entire line then select the 1,2,3 icon and the text will indent being preceded by the numeral one.
  3. After that, anytime you select the enter key to get to another line, you will get an indented line preceded by the next numeral in the sequence.
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Re: Opinion: The New U.S. Patent System Will Stifle Innovation

09/20/2011 10:41 AM

Thanks JB. I got it figured out, I just couldn't undo what I had already done. It seems to be irreversible. No big deal, it's not that messed up.

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Re: Opinion: The New U.S. Patent System Will Stifle Innovation

09/20/2011 1:04 PM

No problem.

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Re: Opinion: The New U.S. Patent System Will Stifle Innovation

09/20/2011 4:07 PM

"Sorry for the weird format. I played around with those column thingies and this is what I got...."

Maybe you should patent it???

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Re: Opinion: The New U.S. Patent System Will Stifle Innovation

09/20/2011 4:17 PM

Good one! I don't know if I could repeat it though.

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Re: Opinion: The New U.S. Patent System Will Stifle Innovation

09/26/2011 1:00 PM

This change brings the US into line with the rest of the world. Globally the proportion of patents filed in the US vis the rest of the world has been declining for many years.

Two reasons for this are a) the backlog of patent applications in the US is now so large that there is little point in filing because any market opportunity will have long passed before your application is even considered, and b) with the old system there was no guarantee that another applicant was going to turn up claiming he had invented first, leaving you with big legal bills and possibly no patent.

The new system gives a fixed date regardless of the financial muscle of the patentee and no room for argument by lawyers.

Most commentators seem to be concentrating on 'filing date' which if anything simplifies the system. I think that the toughening up of pre-disclosure rules will turn out to be much more significant in the long term.

Far from stifling innovation, this puts you back on a level playing field and will allow you to compete with the rest of us.

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