Alan Langford

Authored Comments

Reasoning by entomology? give me a break.

In my view, the big problem with the patent system is that it was designed for a different era. As opposed as I am to software patents, it might be good to have a system that protects truly innovative work for some period.

Say for example that Apple and Palm have some real innovation in their respective patent portfolios. [I'm not saying that they do or don't, just using a topical example.]

These companies have done significant research, so maybe it is fair to allow them to exploit the fruits of that work. If it's fair, then software patents are useful.

However, when the patent system was designed, the pace of change was slower. Product cycles were a lot longer. Current patent terms were intended for that cycle. They have been maintained and/or extended by parties who have little interest in innovation. As a result they have transformed from tools that foster invention into tools that repress it.

The solution is simply to reduce patent terms to correspond to current times. Four years for a software patent and eight for a drug sounds about right. The term should start on a date no later than the date that a product embodying the technology is made available for sale. These shortened terms would instantly dispense with a large volume of spurious and incremental patent applications, and the process would streamline itself.

Better yet, implementation of rational patent terms could probably be accomplished without major legislative work. All that is required are simple amendments to existing laws and regulations.

Although I still fall on the side of eliminating software patents entirely, returning the legislation to implement the original intent might be sufficient.