The patent system hangs in the balance

Scales of Justice with GavelIBM is proud to be the top recipient of US patents for the 22nd consecutive year. As thousands of IBM inventors mark another year of US patent leadership, we are also taking time to reflect upon the health and vitality of our patent system.

It should come as no surprise that we believe in a strong patent system. Patents protect and promote the business of all innovators. In addition, patents enhance our economy – indeed, many attribute US economic leadership to the robust US patent system. The most advanced industries, including information technology and life sciences, rely on patents to protect innovative products and services. And by promoting innovation, patents improve our standard of living.

While the patent system is certainly not perfect, many of the attacks being leveled against it are unjustified and unreasonable. As a whole, the patent system promotes innovation, period. Some self-proclaimed experts argue otherwise. They are simply mistaken.

Logic dictates that the protective rights conferred by patents encourage activities that result in the development of more patented inventions. And patents provide an important public benefit – patents must include a complete description of an invention, which enables subsequent innovation by others who won’t have to “reinvent the wheel”. Patents justify venture capital investments, prevent copying of inventions by those that did not endure the expense and hard work to create them, and provide essential returns for steep investments in research. The benefits conferred by a strong patent system are not a recent discovery – our founding fathers authorized Congress to create our patent system in Article 1, Section 8 of our Constitution.

Notice the reference to a “strong” patent system, but what does this mean? It does not mean that patents should be awarded for any trivial advance, because members of the public should not have to concern themselves with patents on advances that are not truly innovative and thereby undeserving of protection. Robust application of the statutory requirements of patentability — that an invention is new, non-obvious and clearly and fully described — prevent grant and enforcement of such patents.

A strong patent system also does not play favorites. A well-functioning patent system must provide the needed flexibility to embrace new technology. The patent system must avoid discrimination based on technology. Inventive software must be judged according to the same rules as inventive mechanical devices and inventive medicines, or we risk undermining the very purpose of the patent system – to encourage new and necessarily unknown advances in as-yet unimagined fields of endeavor.

We thus aspire to a strong, but balanced, patent system — one that minimizes risk from meritless patents and frivolous patent litigation. A patent system that enables an understanding of the inventions it protects. A patent system that prevents hidden identities of rights holders and encourages and protects truly significant innovation — without discrimination based on technology. An optimized patent system recognizes the rights of legitimate innovators relying on patent protection, while providing means to curb those that would abuse the patent system to the detriment of the rest of us.

No doubt our patent system could be better. Yet its complexity makes the achievement of absolute perfection elusive. Imperfections represent mere imbalance – a failure to optimize the promotion of innovation, not a failure to promote innovation overall. If promoting innovation remains our goal, we must seek to expose and eliminate the imperfections, taking care to preserve and enhance the incentives the patent system uniquely provides.


Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author as of the time of publication and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of

Join the Discussion

28 comments so far.

  • [Avatar for Jeff Lindsay]
    Jeff Lindsay
    April 21, 2015 05:01 am

    Gene, I appreciate your patience and your careful explanations for the benefit of your readers. Many thanks!

  • [Avatar for Gene Quinn]
    Gene Quinn
    January 26, 2015 10:05 am


    You claim that those who promote patents do not cite any evidence, which is extremely ironic not only because is if false but because you cite absolutely no evidence yourself.

    Clearly, patents promote innovation. If you were not blinded by ideology (or perhaps brainwashed) you would know that. We have proved that patents promote innovation over and over again here on Please inform yourself before commenting again. We do not tolerate lies, ignorance, or the type of ridiculous, unfounded commentary that unfortunately seems so prevalent on the Internet.

    You will notice in each of these articles there are citations to the proof that you say doesn’t exist. Enjoy!

  • [Avatar for tifoso]
    January 24, 2015 08:46 am

    Worblux 25 – You claim that the defenders of the patent system fail to provide and studies and make conclusory statements. Then, you begin a string of conclusory statements without citing any studies.

    As to software patents not including code, of course not. But there must be a description of the invention in such detail that someone of ordinary skill in the art can make or use the invention. If you truly understood software, you would know that the same invention can be coded in many languages. There can be variations in labels and even in the order of some of the code sections yet there is still an invention. If you want to protect a particular manifestation of the invention, the protection lies in copyright.

    As to your claim that it is as costly to copy as it is to invent, what is the color of the sky in your world? Some company takes years and spends millions to write an airline reservation system, The system is marketed at a fair price. A buyer runs off dozens of copies for a few dollars apiece. Not at all the same. You may be confusing patent with trade secret. Yes, to reverse engineer an invention can often cost as much as doing the R&D but trade secret is very different from patent.

    Some inventions may be outdated by the time the patent expires but there are tens of thousands of inventions whose patents expire each year and the invention is still useful. Pharmaceuticals are an easy example.

    Sorry, but your argument fails to convince anyone who understands the situation.

  • [Avatar for WorBlux]
    January 24, 2015 04:09 am

    “While the patent system is certainly not perfect, many of the attacks being leveled against it are unjustified and unreasonable. As a whole, the patent system promotes innovation, period. Some self-proclaimed experts argue otherwise. They are simply mistaken.

    Logic dictates that the protective rights conferred by patents encourage activities that result in the development of more patented inventions. ”

    The problem is that you and other patent supportors make objective claims but don’t cite any studies based on empirical evidence. The in depth studies reveal patents don’t really benifit most industries except lawyers as litigation is income rather than expense for them, and pharmucueticals because they have to pay for extraordinary burdensome regulatory costs. .

    And more inventions isn’t neccessarily a good thing if they are just five variations on the same theme. Even if it does provide some befifit, it still must be weighed against the increased price of consumer goods due to the monopolies patents create.

    “And patents provide an important public benefit – patents must include a complete description of an invention, which enables subsequent innovation by others who won’t have to “reinvent the wheel”.

    Software patents don’t include code. And patents are actually written in legalize designed to be a broad in meaning as possible. Including actual nuts and bolts implementation detail would make a patent less strong legally speaking because it becomes easier for someone point ot the essential claims of the patent and say “we don’t do that exactly, so we don’t infringe”

    Secondly the information in expired patent is kind of out-of-date, and reading current patents in your feild is a good way to set your company up for punative damages for knowingly violating some patent.

    “Patents justify venture capital investments, prevent copying of inventions by those that did not endure the expense and hard work to create them, and provide essential returns for steep investments in research.”

    Generrally the R+D cost to copy something is about the same as to develop it. Being the first to market provides many advantages to an inventor

    Patents encourage the concentration of industry and crony capitalism at the expense of labor. Additionally the full potential of the new technology can be wasted and delayed as was the case with the airplane and steam engine, which didn’t really become widely usefull until after the orginal patents expired.

    “The benefits conferred by a strong patent system are not a recent discovery – our founding fathers authorized Congress to create our patent system in Article 1, Section 8 of our Constitution”

    No they authorized a system to promote science and the usefull arts, which out patent system does not actually do. The people who wrote the contitution are simply men made the same error of judgement as you do. At the very least patent terms should be decreased to five years for most sorts of goods, with annual rewals avaiblie out to ten years at increasing costs. Then funnel those revenues into more stringent screening of patent material and publicly funded pure science.

    As to your Logic it stops far too short to be of any use. Consider that admonition from Frederick Basiat. “In the department of economy, an act, a habit, an institution, a law, gives birth not only to an effect, but to a series of effects. Of these effects, the first only is immediate; it manifests itself simultaneously with its cause – it is seen. The others unfold in succession – they are not seen: it is well for us, if they are foreseen. Between a good and a bad economist this constitutes the whole difference – the one takes account of the visible effect; the other takes account both of the effects which are seen, and also of those which it is necessary to foresee. Now this difference is enormous, for it almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favourable, the ultimate consequences are fatal, and the converse.”

  • [Avatar for M. Snyder]
    M. Snyder
    January 20, 2015 11:19 am


    I asked you to accept a series of stipulations and agree that if true, they would be problematic. You don’t want to engage in that exercise, for whatever reason. No I’m not a lawyer- I’m the small business owner / job creator that policy makers all make a big show of worrying about. If problems in the system can’t even be hypothetically discussed, it makes them hard to solve if they do exist.

    Two final points:

    1) it’s awfully hard to negotiate a license prior to litigation when the first you hear of the patent or patentee is when you are sued.

    2) Yes, DDR is one holding about software patents. My position in our case is not based on a generic rejection of software patents, even though I believe they should not be patent eligible. My position is that the prior art (ours) anticipated the asserted patent, but it will cost a million dollars to prove that. The more pertinent, and recent, Fed Circuit case to the asserted patent is Content Extraction & Transmission LLC v. Wells Fargo Bank.

  • [Avatar for Paul Morinville]
    Paul Morinville
    January 17, 2015 06:22 pm

    It is good to see a major tech corporation, who would in the end probably benefit from weak patents, take a stand for strong patents.

  • [Avatar for Gene Quinn]
    Gene Quinn
    January 16, 2015 04:58 pm

    Mr. Snyder-

    With respect to reasonable royalties, if all the patent owner would get would be what they could have received in an arms length negotiation then why would anyone ever enter into a license agreement ever? Just take what you want and if and only if you get sued then pay what you would have paid without forcing a lawsuit? That is why a reasonable royalty in litigation is always going to be higher than what would have been negotiated in an arms length negotiation even absent a finding of willfulness.

    By giving a patent number you identify a patent that someone is asserting against you. In your opinion it is a low quality patent. That you are of that opinion does not necessarily make it so. I looked at the claims briefly and it doesn’t seem to me that the claims will have 101 issues, and the priority dates are quite old, so pointing to a patent isn’t enough. Low quality patents are so characterized if they cover patent ineligible subject matter and there is prior art. You haven’t identified any prior art or otherwise expressed any fact based argument to prove your contention that this is a low quality patent. Simply, it is not possible to make an assessment based on reading the patent alone.

    I think the reason you say this is a low quality patent is because you say that software should not be patentable per se. That, however, is not the law. Clearly software is patent eligible, it is mentioned throughout the Patent Statute over and over again, the USPTO issues software patents weekly, and the Federal Circuit in DDR Holdings found a software patent claim patent eligible. So the fact that a patent covers software does not in and of itself make the patent low quality. Indeed, some of the best written patents I’ve ever seen are software patents, and some of the most useful innovations are software baed.

    You claim that IBM is trolling, but you still provide no proof. The fact that they are seeking payment for a patent they own does not make them a troll. Your earlier definition of a troll is also rather ridiculous. You define a troll to be IBM. Patent trolls are bad actors who abuse the system. Seeking payment for an alleged infringement is not synonymous with someone being a troll whether they are a small company, an individual, university or large entity like IBM.

    I’m not going to give you legal advice, but your knowledge of this area seems quite limited. Having been sued myself at times I know it can weigh heavy on you. If you are going to continue to comment here or elsewhere I would recommend you become more familiar with the law. The arguments you are making are not going to work in this forum, and they have absolutely no chance of working in litigation (in my opinion). If IBM is abusing the litigation process then make that case specifically. Throwing software patents and large owners patents under the bus doesn’t prove anything.


  • [Avatar for M. Snyder]
    M. Snyder
    January 16, 2015 03:15 pm

    Gene, first off, if we inadvertently or willfully infringed, we would pay, and a lawsuit would not be needed. We NEVER steal IP, we always carefully license everything we use, and we certainly seek to conduct our business honorably on every level.

    To your point that “a lot goes into making a royalty calculation and a royalty in litigation is always higher than what it would have been if you had licensed the patent in an arms length negotiation. That is the law”

    I did not know that – I thought the hypothetical negotiation was independent of infringement status unless willfulness was involved.

    In giving the patent number, I am identifying a patent of low quality. Surely its possible to make a patent quality judgment based only on the face of the patent, no?

    I can’t detail fully every invalidity argument we are making: I can say that we wrote the code and sold the software before the priority date, and I can say that Alice and other recent cases should invalidate the patent cleanly. I can’t type out financial statements here, but I can say the royalty demands likely exceed our entire net profit for the 6 years preceding the lawsuit.

    Let me try another approach: lets stipulate that the royalty demands are excessive by a huge multiple. lets stipulate that there were never lost profits because of non-competition. lets stipulate that the patent is of the lowest quality. lets stipulate that a reasonable royalty negotiation would have been a handful of thousands of dollars compared to a multi-million dollar cost of a lawsuit. lets stipulate that the litigation is being driven to force unreasonable settlements.

    Would that set of stipulations say anything about forces working against a “strong” patent system? Would that set of stipulations be consistent with the kind of posture IBM is suggesting is required of responsible users of the patent system?

    If that set of stipulations would have no bearing on what he was trying to say, then I don’t know what he was trying to say, and that’s that.

    To the notion that I see myself involved in some heroic crusade, that’s absurd. if I were a real business hero, I wouldn’t care about a million bucks and I’d just let our counsel handle it. In fact, I’m a middle class guy and this is my kids college tuition at stake. We self-capitalize a nice little business, so these tactics are what by my lights are available to me, and I do think of them as guerilla warfare.

    And no, I still think software per se should not be patentable. I think devices and useful processes that use software to accomplish a tangible result certainly should be, and I think strong IP regimes are essential for innovation and economic justice. Big deal, my opinion is meaningless and has nothing to do with my motivation to out IBM’s trolling of a company 1/20,000 of its size.

  • [Avatar for Gene Quinn]
    Gene Quinn
    January 16, 2015 10:27 am

    Mr. Snyder-

    You came here to lambast the Schecter article saying that what he says here is contrary to what IBM is saying in your litigation. That simply isn’t true. Schecter is explaining why patents are so important and how the future hangs in the balance as Congress and the Courts continually consider dismantling the system. He addresses the criticism of the patent system as being overblown and unreasonable. I doubt you would disagree with those statements.

    You give us a patent number and say that the patent speaks for itself, which of course it does not. You cannot go to court and say that IBM is wrong and just look at the patent “I have nothing else to say.” Likewise, here on IPWatchdog, that type of non-informing commentary is discouraged.

    You also complain that IBM is asking for more in back royalties than your company made last year. While that may play well among those not sophisticated in the law, the fact that your company isn’t making much money now is not at all a relevant inquiry when determining the damages that have occurred in the past. A lot goes into making a royalty calculation and a royalty in litigation is always higher than what it would have been if you had licensed the patent in an arms length negotiation. That is the law.

    You have a business dispute with IBM. There is no gap between what Schecter writes, which is an article that generally supports the patent system, and any specific legal argument made by IBM. Unless IBM is arguing that the patent system should be abolished then nothing Schecter writes here is contrary to a position taken by IBM in your litigation.

    You really should listen to your lawyers when you have an ongoing litigation. Airing your dispute in public like this while not providing any facts and trying to appeal to emotions is not helping you.


  • [Avatar for Anon]
    January 16, 2015 08:15 am

    M. Snyder,

    Your comment of “I have been warned repeatedly that what I am doing is not a good idea. Such is the condition of a guerrilla in the field.” says more than you think it does.

    It says that you have a rather warped view of yourself as some sort of Crusader, when your counsel views you as perhaps Don Quixote.

    You are not a guerrilla fighting some “evil” system.

    Your tactics only showcase your lack of understanding and mistaken penchant for wanting a different version of reality of patent law.

    You do not recognize the weaknesses in your arguments, nor how your arguments are used by every infringer.

    That said, I have noticed you pulling back on using the pure ideology of being anti-software patent in your posts. However, you have not supplemented that withdrawal with any substantive argument to support your legal position. “I’m a small guy and they want ‘too much'” is NOT a legal position.

    I think rather that your counsel warns you against “waging war” in this manner, not because you are some sort of effective guerrilla fighter, but more so because you are inept at handling the weapons of war and you keep shooting yourself in the foot.

    Those wounds take their toll.

  • [Avatar for M. Snyder]
    M. Snyder
    January 15, 2015 11:49 pm

    tifoso I am not a lawyer, I’m already skating on thin ice and not wishing to cause problems for my own counsel; I have been warned repeatedly that what I am doing is not a good idea. Such is the condition of a guerrilla in the field.

    The central patent involved is #5999939. It should speak for itself to an educated eye. The most recent back-royalty demand was approx. 20 times the net profits of my company last year. The accused functionality did not generate a single sale, nor has its removal cost a single sale, to my knowledge.

    It would be incredibly unlikely for Mr. Schecter to even be aware of this matter, let alone engage in a public dialog about it once becoming aware. My goal is to merely bring it to his attention- once accomplished, if he means what he says about patent quality, innovation, and proper use of litigation, he will take the appropriate action.

    I do, however, think its of interest to this audience because of the gap between the ideal and the reality of what he wrote. IBM going after us is an absurdity on any level, but simply Kafkaesque on the actual facts.

  • [Avatar for tifoso]
    January 15, 2015 06:33 pm

    M. Snyder – This may not be the best forum for your statements. The Schecter essay was more general. Most of us are not familiar with the situation about which you have grievances with IBM or whoever it is. We do not know the facts. All we are getting are conclusory statements. You may have good points but they seem to be clouded by emotion, albeit capped.

    Here is a suggestion: Do a good writeup the way a newspaper reporter might. Mr. Schecter can do the same for his side. Maybe Gene will print both. A few days after Gene publishes an article, most people do not read the comments. By reducing your view to an article, you will have a far larger audience. You might win some converts. Bear in mind, however, that there are guidelines for what can be published here. Stick to the facts. Make it relevant to issues we all face in our jobs. People who read this sight want light, not heat. We have enough heat to deal with in our practices.

  • [Avatar for M. Snyder]
    M. Snyder
    January 15, 2015 05:51 pm

    I did want to clarify one point: my company is in no danger right now as a going concern because of this litigation; rather that a worst-case outcome of everything maximally breaking against us would be quite painful, and that IMO, this litigation has already likely caused at least one of our former co-defendants their independence.

  • [Avatar for martin snyder]
    martin snyder
    January 15, 2015 02:08 pm

    Mr. Quinn thanks for both the advice and not removing the post. Our counsel has been extraordinarily patient with my blogging. As a highly experienced attorney you understand how uncomfortable it must be. And Yet.

    Litigation is war by other means, and like many a tiny force opposing a giant force, we have resorted to means of asymmetric warfare to merely gain the attention of our opponent. Blogging, for better or worse, is one of the great force multipliers of all time, providing individuals access to audiences impossible to reach prior to the emergence of the Internet as a publishing platform.

    IBM came into this case midway when they bought the original plaintiff, so we have never ascribed the original bad intent to IBM; indeed, we have always wondered where and when the oversight would appear, because surely, IBM of all parties, would not be asserting such a low quality patent in such an unethical manner.

    By low quality, I mean a mid ’90’s method patent tortuously prosecuted and then obtained down thru multiple bankruptcies (starting with a notorious original patentee) which is broad, functional, obsolete, and invalid in the face of a mountain of jurisprudence designed to eliminate these kinds of patents as destructive weapons, from Alice to Limelight and their progeny.

    The ‘technology’ at issue was ‘invented’ by me and my brother in our mom’s family room (and by dozens, or hundreds, or thousands) of other programmers before and since. It’s such a basic thing to do that nobody would ever think twice about doing, let alone worry that there might have been a patent associated with it.

    The demands for back royalties (we would not wish to take a license since we quickly removed the accused functionality and nobody noticed) are insane; likely amounting to more than 100% of our profits during the period in question. The accused feature is a sub-component of a separately sold component of our main product, with the volume of its actual historic use disclosed by a highly reliable statistical methods. All of this information was made available thru (horrifyingly expensive) discovery.

    So we are faced with the possibility of the theft of our life’s work over virtually nothing, which came out of nowhere without warning, with no realistic way to have avoided it, caused by the actions of giants whom we could never even nudge from whatever course they were taking.

    Fighting it has absorbed enormous amounts of our attention and our limited free capital. That situation tends to focus one’s mind on ways of getting to one’s antagonists.

    I have commented before in many places that the word “troll” is overused to the point of meaninglessness. It should not refer to NPE’s, who have as much right as any patentee to monetize their legitimate patents. It should refer to litigation abusers. Trolls have a pattern, NPE or otherwise:

    – they sue multiple defendants without warning or attempts to settle

    – they sue on old, broad (abstract) almost always software or business method patents

    – they demand settlement amounts that have no reasonable relationship to a hypothetical royalty negotiation or lost profits

    – they vastly overstate the value of their feature patents to the sales of a complex system/solutions

    – they use patent litigation is a marketing tool, or an extortion tool, rather than a means to resolve an actual business dispute.

    I am comfortable that by one means or another our counsel will win the case on the merits, but that’s cold comfort if winning means dying or nearly so. We can never get back the time and opportunity we have already lost on this.

    If Mr. Schecter is good for his word, he will review this matter, see it for what it is, and make it right.

    We have always assumed that’s what would happen if leadership at IBM actually knew what was going on here, and that’s why I log-on every day to find venues that could bring sunshine to the situation.

  • [Avatar for Gene Quinn]
    Gene Quinn
    January 15, 2015 10:05 am


    I looked at that quote and, not surprisingly, the quote is misleading. IBM spends over $6 billion a year in R&D. There is no way that is a fraction of what others spend. According to the graphic provided, IBM spends just over 6% of revenue on R&D, while other companies spend a greater percentage of revenue on R&D.

    It would indeed be interesting to ask those other companies why they are so much less successful than IBM when the spend a higher percentage of revenue on innovation.

    If you look at IBM’s stock price over the last 50 years the company has continually gone up. There have been noticeable dips, but anyone who is fair has to notice the trend is always up over the long haul. IBM has had issues over the years but they have reinvented themselves over and over again. In my opinion that is because of their unwavering commitment to innovation.

    IBM seems wave ahead of everyone else with respect to cognitive computer (i.e., Watson) and it seems clear to me that over the long haul that market will be far enormous. Already Watson is able to predict cancer at early stages with 2.5 times the accuracy of the best doctors in the world.

    Everyone is so concerned with the short term today. IBM is the only high tech company that has proven it can be relevant and highly successful across several generations.


  • [Avatar for Anon]
    January 14, 2015 10:42 pm

    M. Snyder,

    If you wanted to press Mr. Schecter with a pointed question, perhaps you should have stayed away from the personal issue and asked instead if he had any response to Alex Barinka, who in this week’s Bloom berg Businessweek states

    For the second year in a row, the 103-year-old technology giant was the Dow Jones industrial average’s worst performer. The company has spent billions on stock buybacks and is investing a fraction of what rivals do in R&D.

    Personally, the fraction is 1/2 of each of the article’s top five rivals, and I would be interested in how IBM appears to so efficiently utilize the lower spending and still come up with more patents than its rivals.

  • [Avatar for Gene Quinn]
    Gene Quinn
    January 14, 2015 09:09 pm

    M. Snyder-

    I won’t censor your comment, but I would encourage you to more directly make your point in an explicit manner.

    Schecter’s article here explains the importance of patents. I find it difficult to believe that IBM has said anything to the contrary in litigation.


  • [Avatar for Anon]
    January 14, 2015 12:08 pm

    M. Snyder,

    Please be aware of the grey area you enter into with communications of this sort. Your plight being made public across several blogs, people are aware that you are represented by counsel, and communications that you seek (as here) may be problematic.

    This is not – nor should it be construed as – legal advice.

  • [Avatar for M. Snyder]
    M. Snyder
    January 14, 2015 10:30 am

    Mr. Schecter I would invite you to explore the quality of the patent(s) and the conduct of your company in case No. 12-10943-FDS, District of Mass.

    Both are deplorable. Should you do so, and then make it right, it would be an opportunity to demonstrate your ideals; as there is a large current gap between what you say here and what you are doing there.

    Mr. Quinn, I respectfully ask that you not censor this post and allow your blog to serve as a useful, direct channel on this matter.

  • [Avatar for tifoso]
    January 13, 2015 03:45 pm

    Anon – Agree the “who” (whether Horton hears them or not) who create and amend the system bear responsibility but the examiners are the “who” inventors are far, far more likely to have to deal with. Both need to try to do no harm.

  • [Avatar for Anon]
    January 13, 2015 03:22 pm

    tifoso – the “who” is those who create and amend the system within which the examiners operate.

    As indicated by the context of the article here.

  • [Avatar for tifoso]
    January 13, 2015 01:19 pm

    Who is this who is supposed to do no harm if not the examiners? They are the first line of battle. I agree that the examiner’s job is not saving the world but to follow the law. We have all run into examiners who do not seem to understand that.

    Note also that good intentions are merely paving stones on the road to Hell.

  • [Avatar for Anon]
    January 13, 2015 12:43 pm

    Thanks tifoso, but the object of the statement is not examiners. Take a step back and look at my comment in the context of this article.

    (then, and only then, watch that power trip of “saving the world,” as the examiner’s job is NOT saving the world, but evaluating whether an application meets the law)

  • [Avatar for tifoso]
    January 13, 2015 07:28 am

    Anon – Do you mean the Hippocratic Oath, the one taken by physicians? As to harm, would imagine that most examiners see themselves as saving the world from bad patents. That would certainly comport with doing no harm.

  • [Avatar for Anon]
    January 12, 2015 03:02 pm


    It’s also important that people realize that the road to h311 is paved with good intentions.

    I think that the Socratic Oath would be appropriate here (the one along the lines of “First, do no harm”).

  • [Avatar for Fish Sticks]
    Fish Sticks
    January 12, 2015 01:30 pm

    I think that the focus should be on examiners locating and properly applying the closest prior art during the examination of patent applications. What this will require are better patent data bases, better classification system and better training of examiners.

  • [Avatar for Karla]
    January 12, 2015 01:28 pm

    There is no doubt the patent system could be better but it’s important that people are trying to eliminate imperfections.

  • [Avatar for Anon]
    January 12, 2015 12:40 pm

    Kudos – well stated.