Patent Reform: How Can We Fix This?

Originally posted 2017-02-27 12:10:15

reforming-the-patent-system-how-did-we-doErin Holbrook|

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has been in the news lately regarding reform and how we can overhaul the process for patents to ensure that it is fostering innovation and not stifling it.

As it is today, the US patent and trademark office issues patents that have terms that are too broad and vague, give patents for too long, and require too much effort to understand. The way things are working now it is all too easy for patent trolls to take advantage of a patent for monetary gain than it is for inventors to get the protection they need and deserve.


Patents should not be granted to individuals or companies that don’t use or plan to make the patented product. If you can’t prove to the USPTO that you are making the product or plan to and are able to, they should not grant you or your company a patent. This would stop the problem we have been encountering lately. Patent assertion entities aka patent trolls buy up “paper” patents with no intention of creating the products, they just use the patent rights to engage in lawsuits for the extort of money.


Current patents are held for 20 years from the date the application is filed. That is entirely too long to wait! When you think of the speed of technology today and 20 years from now, 20 years is an eternity. In our fast paced world having a 20 year lockdown on new innovations stifles creativity. Patents should be shorter and allow the new technologies to go to public domain while they are still relevant technologies.


Writing a patent application is daunting and can be intimidating to the novice or first timer. You would have to invest considerable time and research for a patent application. Expect to spend a few hundred hours on just one application. Writing skills are needed and you have to write clearly while using archaic terminology. Project management skills are needed to manage this complex of a project and meet important deadlines. Don’t go at it alone, because of the complexity of filing a patent I suggest seeking competent legal help when venturing on these types of projects. This ensures you have everything you need and you don’t waste time or money trying to do this alone.

These are a few examples of how the USPTO could make some changes to rework the current patent system to accomplish their goal of fostering innovation.




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Key words: patent reform, USPTO, patent trolls, innovation, creativity