Note to self: Hand that napkin in (to the US Patent Office)

Note to self: Hand that napkin in (to the US Patent Office)

Summary:'s Declan McCullagh has the disturbing details on the Rep.

TOPICS: Patents
3's Declan McCullagh has the disturbing details on the Rep. Lamar Smith's (R-TX) patent reform proposal that's under consideration by Congress (the Patent Reform Act of 2005).  Among the controversial changes to existing patent law is a provision that assures that when a patent is awarded,  it gets awarded to the first person to submit the paperwork to the patent office (not necessarily the inventor who hasn't filed an application yet).  Today,  if you can prove that you were the inventor of something (by way of dated documents), that proof supercedes the timing of a patent application.  

Patents have become a hot button in the sometimes stressful discussion that takes place between advocates of open source software and those of proprietary software.  Intellectual property rights (IPR) have become a major obstacle to the widespread deployment of certain technologies. For example, IPR is what's standing in the way the Apache Software Foundation's deployment of some all-important WS-Security protocols in its open source offerings.  I'm not sure what the solution is anymore.  One thing I do know -- as I wrote in a recent bit of satire -- on their current course, patents will suck all that's interesting out of our world.

Topic: Patents

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  • Ideas on napkins should not be patentable

    The way to fix this patent hysteria is to award the patent to the first person who creates a working prototype of an actual product. It can even suck, as long as it works as described by your patent filing.

    Right now I could probably file for a patent for a device that generates power using cold fusion without actually having the ability or know how to make one. That's flat out wrong. If you can't demonstrate you can make one, you don't deserve a patent.
    Michael Kelly
    • I believe that's why there is no patent on cold fusion

      The theories are all there but to date no has proven the theories to work. There have been a few claims but when it came to put up or shut up all they could do was shut up.
    • A patents claims must produce...

      You can't just file gibberish, it must produce a working object, define a process that has output, etc...etc. When you break out your secret decoder ring and translate the legalease which is designed to confuse, and read the claims of a patent, you should be able to create anything within the USPTO files. Just sending in material won't work if someone discovered it to be impossible to create. A patent is only as good as its defense. ie: I can challenge the efficacy of a patent and it can be revoked, in fact, just a challenge alone stalls the patent. See "Request for reexamination of Microsoft FAT patent" and the subsequent rejection of the patent, and it happens surprisingly fast.

      You must be able to defend your patent, trademark, or copyright for it to protect you, otherwise, its thousands of dollars [in the case of a patent] that is just sitting in an attorneys pocket. But I'm not bitter or anything. :)

      As a side note, I think anyone who questions the function of the USPTO have never really been protected by the PTO, instead, they hear FUD about its capabilities, and that it is THE end game and gospel.

      Another note, having dated documents doesn't prove you 'invented' first. It just proves, you have dated documents. Envelopes with your invention hasn't been effective for 25+ years if ever.