Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The New Rules - Patent Demand By Proxy

The USPTO has recently proposed significant modifications to the prosecution and appeal rules under which patents are granted (here for example). In my estimation (and with some confirmation by the GC of the office - see here), the rules are an attempt by the USPTO to reduce the number of patent applications that it has to examine, or Patent Demand By Proxy.

Of course, the proposed rule-making has created a backlash in the patent holder and prosecution communities because of the damage that the new rules would do to patents and the patent process. The secondary effect of the proposed rules is to drive up the expense of filing and prosecuting patent applications through increased patent applications filed and increased legal bills for complying with the rules. The first set of proposed rules were postponed by a lawsuit filed by GSK, and I would expect a similar result with the second and third sets. However, the USPTO could avoid all of this unpleasantness by simply increasing the filing fees it charges for large entities to a point where the supply of patent applications is reduced to a number that feasible to examine adequately.

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