Saturday June 25, 2016

How Did The U.S. Patent Office Get So Screwed Up?

We arguably had the best patent system, but now it doesn’t look very goodآ—particularly for the smaller guys who have their ideas adopted by corporate behemoths. The rise of the patent troll has made it even harder for legitimate idea types to get what they rightfully deserve.

Starting in the early 2000s, the rights and protections conferred by a U.S. patent have eroded to the point that they are weaker today than at any time since the Great Depression. A series of Supreme Court decisions and then the most important patent-reform legislation in sixty years, signed into law in 2011, have made it so. The stated purpose of the reform has been to exterminate so-called patent trollsآ—those entities that own patents (sometimes many thousands of them) and engage in no business other than suing companies for patent infringement. The reforms have had their desired effect. It has become harder for trolls to sue. But they've made it harder for people with legitimate cases, people like Norred, to sue, too.