Commerce Secretary: Patent delays are a scandal

Commerce Secretary: Patent delays are a scandal

Summary: U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke says it is scandalous how long it takes for a individual or company to get a patent, stating that it takes almost 3 years before an application is even looked at and another year before a decision is even made.

TOPICS: Telcos, Banking, Legal

In a Presidential Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) conference, broadcast live on the Internet, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke stated that it is scandalous in how long it takes for a individual or company to get a patent, stating that it takes almost 3 years before an application is even looked at and another year before a decision is even made.

He stressed that for start-up companies to get investment seed money from venture capital sources or traditional financial loans, patent pending means nothing. He compared it to "trying to getting a loan for a home remodelling project, but don't have full title to the home yet" - you simply won't get a loan or investment if you don't have the patent. Currently there is Patent Reform legislation (H.R. 2795) before 111th Congress, which was first proposed in 2005 and again in 2007.

Frustrating the Commerce Secretary is how Copyright and Trademark's policies and processes compare to Patent review. He described how Copyright applications are reviewed and decided upon in as little as 3 months. Locke believes that there is a continuing reduction of R&D investment in the United States because of this and allows other countries such as China, Taiwan, India, Germany and others to move faster to market. He stated one example where China is spending $8 billion  a month creating new green energy solutions not because it will reduce its greenhouse gas foot print, but will allow it to become a world leader and exporter of these technologies such as wind turbines. Currently Germany, Norway and Sweden are power houses in wind turbine technology.

Topics: Telcos, Banking, Legal

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  • this obamacan is wrong

    the problem is not the delay, the problem is the patent itself.
    A patent free economy will stimulate development and will increase the OSS market share.
    Linux Geek
    • Indeed (sarcastically)

      Clearly it's due to the regressive socialistic patent systems in the U.S. (since the 18th century) and United Kingdom (since the 17th) that those noble nations were firstly divided, and then left standing in the 19th and 20th centuries by the thrusting advances of patent-free Russia, China and Japan, whose global empires today firmly dominate the so-called "United Nations".

      No, wait, it was the United Kingdom that had the global empire. Japan had its aspiration kicked, China was compelled at gunpoint to accept the British and American trade in heroin (fact)... history is so darn messy.

      Hey, Britain should have patented slavery. If that had happened then today you and I would be communicating in English.
      Robert Carnegie 2009
    • Right!

      Of <i>course</i> i'm going to build a new house so you and your brother can immediately move in and pay me nothing!

      Boy, <i>that</i> would stimulate the housing market.

      Like most so-called "libertarians" (as opposed to <i>real</i> Libertarians), you seem to have no grasp of the fact that Intellectual Property is just as real as physical property.
  • RE: Commerce Secretary: Patent delays are a scandal

    Just what isn't broken in this country?
    SEC, FTC, FCC, patent office, immigration, and the list goes on an on and on and nothing is being fixed, the only proposed solutions are just take over and expand all of the broken systems.
    But that's OK, the ones that pay to run this country are doing fine.
    • Do some research

      I would suggest you watch the video's of the PCAST session that was held yesterday. I found it very enlightening.
  • "Copyright applications are decided upon in as little as 3 months"


    Considering that copyright automatically exists from the fixing of the work in its final form, even if you never file at all with the government, three months to give me what i already have seems a tad excessive.

    That three months is how long it takes the government office to go "Oh, uh, yeah - nice job. Okay, we officially know you did it." - useful if you need to prove you created something and when, but not legally necessary for binding copyright.

    (Now, if the same applies to <i>trademarks</i>, which actually <i>do</i> require legal creation, it might be moderately impressive.)
    • Good Grief.

      This is like beating up on the FDA because getting a drug approved takes so much longer than getting a passport.

      This is the Commerce Secretary, who's IN CHARGE of the freaking patent office, and he doesn't know the difference between registration (copyrights) and examination (patents). Talk about someone who needs to do his homework!
      • Why are you surprised?

        This is kind of highly qualified professionalism is typical of the Obama administration.

        If somebody wishes to spend a few hours listing all the other administrations they think were also incompetent and why I will leave that to them.

        The only one that I actually consider to be a problem, because it still has the power to ruin the country, is the one that holds power.
  • RE: Commerce Secretary: Patent delays are a scandal

    "Currently there is Patent Reform legislation (H.R. 2795) before 111th Congress, which was first proposed in 2005 and again in 2007."

    Yes, but the bill will only further erode the ability of small entities to get funded as the venture capital industry has attested.

    Patent reform is a fraud on America.
    Please see for a different/opposing view on patent reform.
    • Yes, it may happen

      In the current political environment where earmarks, give and take, yes I would suggest that H.R. 2795 is likely to be modified prior to passage in both the Senate and House. No one knows for sure what ammendments or changes will be made, but it is very likely to be changed and in particular, be tied to the secret ACTA negiotations currently underway.

      There should be no link between Patent and Copyright, but sources tell me that one of the reasons Patent Reform is being held up is ACTA.
  • RE: Commerce Secretary: Patent delays are a scandal

    I think: The problem is very real and is also rampant among nearly every governmental area whether it be social security disability, patents of most anything else you can think of. It's 3 years for the majority of SSD cases that don't match their "magic" list, too. My case went for 5 years. A lot of bulldozing is needed in those offices. And it has to scrape close to the ground since many of them live in snake holes!
  • RE: Commerce Secretary: Patent delays are a scandal

    this is regular day to day typical corrupt corporate type procedure by gov't.. big co's don't want innovation unless they own it but that doesn't mean they will release it for the benefit of the public.they don't care about anything but upper mgmt. perks. remember " seat belts" - many, many people died and yet it was the public who paid for the seat belts. i think the patent is corporate/politicaly controlled system and is absolutey corrupt.