UK Patent Review

· by Steve · Read in about 2 min · (286 Words)

It appears that finally, the upper echelons of government (in the UK at least) are realising that the patent system is fundamentally broken and needs serious medical attention. It is, however, a little worrying to see a few too many quotes about reducing the complexity of the current system to encourage more patenting by SMEs, without explaining what to do about defensive patenting, patent hoarding by holding companies doing absolutely nothing productive, patent scatter-shotting where quality is irrelevent so long as a % goes through, and other such atrocities.

Luckily the Gowers Review Call for Evidence does seem to acknowledge all the issues equally, so this could just be a selective journalism issue. Especially since MS is heavily quoted as being in favour of this review, and certainly they’re not interested in making it harder for big companies to dominate the patent landscape since they’re busily trying to manufacture their own arsenal. Hopefully the overall review will be as broad as it appears to be from this document.

My suggestions:

  • Introduce financial penalties for multiple rejected patents within a given time frame, which escalate exponentially the more patents you ‘try it on’ with. This should discourage scatter-shotting.

  • Make patents become invalid if in the process of a year (or so), you neither develop a viable product with the invented technology nor license it to someone who does. This will make speculative ‘ambush’ patents waiting for the genuine invention to be made by someone else invalid.

  • Reduce the length of time a technology patent is valid for. Technology moves too fast for 10+ year patents.

  • Reject all business process and software process patents.

If you’re in the UK and have views, I suggest making your voice heard.