OIN suggests patent reform on the fly

Summary:We want to develop more rigor about codifying what we know so others can't invent around what we already know. Patent only those things that are truly unique and wrap them with defensive publications.

Open Innovation Network (OIN) CEO Keith Bergelt enjoyed my recent analogy of his work to that of a bomb disposal team. He also liked Paula's story.

But his motive for talking was to push the story forward, and to say that the Obama Administration is going to give us patent reform on-the-fly. He said we can be a part of it.

Yes, we can, because the new Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property is David Kappos.

Besides having a nice hair line (so much like my own) Kappos "gets it." He came to the government from IBM. IBM is a co-founder of OIN.

You can help through a group OIN calls Linux Defenders. Here is how:

  1. Peer to patent, examining newly published patent applications to identify prior art and lead to the applications being rejected.
  2. Post issue peer to patent, identifying poor quality patents held by trolls OIN can crowd-source prior art on, leading to re-hearings.
  3. Defensive publications, writing up inventions as prior art for posting on ip.com, a database patent examiners will look at.

"We want to develop more rigor about codifying what we know so others can't invent around what we already know. Patent only those things that are truly unique and wrap them with defensive publications."

Kappos fits in because his mantra is patent quality. "You can't have overly broad patents issued. This will change what the industry does, the interpretation of the legislation, and what is happening in courts."

There's a warning here, however. "We have to meet that change halfway and if we don't mobilize the community we're contributing to the negative future we want to avoid."

About the earlier stories. I was right. The company that bought the patents from Microsoft and passed them to OIN, called AST, is a "white hat" in the patent litigation game. But it's a white hat of a particular type. It buys patents for its owners, licenses them for those owners, then releases them into the wild.

Paula was right, too. Microsoft packaged the 22 patents to make them tasty for trolls, offering hints on who to sue and how. It also pointedly did not offer the portfolio to OIN, the biggest player in the market.

This is the game Microsoft played, Bergelt thinks. "If you are looking for the most elegant way of putting time and distance from the sale and repercussions of a sale directly to a troll, sell to a good guy who releases to the market rather than selling directly to trolls."

Fortunately, in this case, AST and OIN worked together. Problem solved.

Those days could end, but it will take work. The patent office can't do this alone. With your help, however, it's finally willing to move in the way Linux wants.

Topics: Legal

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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