Monday, October 29, 2007

A Trip to “Homestead”

Last week I made the 4.5 hour sojourn to Hot Springs, VA to speak at and attend the IP Law Summit. I was surprised by the number of IP attorneys who turned up at the event and am still a bit puzzled by the business model. Most of the sessions were well attended and well done. They covered topics like Patent Portfolio Management, How to Create Value from your Patents, Examining the New PTO Rules and Reviewing the Pending Patent Reform Bills. Of course, there was hearty debate about the final two topics.

John Miller from Rockwell Automation and I did a joint presentation about how to “deal with” Patent Trolls (namely, don’t feed them). Surprisingly, I got the largest reaction of the event from the crowd when I proposed raise the patent filing fee to $50,000. There was literally a “gasp” followed by several vocal protests that finally resolved to some nervous laughter. In any event, there were several folks lined up outside the room to discuss the idea with me and more than a few that thought it was a novel approach that should be explored. The GC of the USPTO was asked about raising the filing fee during his presentation later in the conference and he responded that they floated that idea several years back and it was shot down by practicioners. So, he continued the new rules are the approach the USPTO has decided to take, and you will have to adjust.

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