Here is the data:
Wow! Over the past 5 years, 1.8 million patent applications were filed in the
In your mind, just visualize the extension of that line through 2010 (don’t worry, I’ll provide a model that will give accurate forecasts later). Half a million patent applications per year by 2010 is a great possibility. The patent system is collapsing under this weight of patent applications and granted patents and none of the proposed “patent reforms” wending their way through Congress address this fundamental problem.
So, how can we possibly fix this problem? Each year, we hear of some new patent reform, but the reform tends to focus on treating a symptom of the problem (litigation) rather than the actual problem (application volume). Similarly, courts have begun to provide limits on elements of the litigation process. The main problem that I have with these solutions is that they de-value all patents regardless of whether the patent should have been granted by the USPTO or not.
I like to solve problems using market-based solutions if possible. There are too many patent applications, in other words we have a classic over-supply problem. How do you fix an over-supply of goods in a government-controlled market? Raise the price for large entities. Currently, filing a patent application costs $1000 for a large entity, peanuts for any large corporation when you consider the potential benefit of a single patent. Of course, this ignores the attorney fees to prepare the application. My hypothesis is that the $1000 application fee does not provide any disincentive for filing marginal patent applications. A corporation will always file the marginal patent application and the application fee is not even a consideration in the decision process.
I would raise patent application fees to $50,000 for large entities (no change for small entities, individuals and universities for now). I would make this fee apply to all applications currently being examined by the USPTO. My guess (to be validated later) is that this will dispose of the current backlog of applications and leave the USPTO with about 100,000 applications to examine per year.
Patent Demand is a forum to discuss the proposed solution, its benefits and drawbacks in an effort to improve the