a.18 hours total spent on average per patent.b.Should there be an increased presumption of validity? How many patents are put to use?2.Need better access to non-patent prior art:Magazines, journals, archives of technology. Only 3 prior art references on average for software patents in late 90's.B.Patent Terms1.Used to be 17 yrs from date of issuance.Changed because:a.It didn't count against inventors who dragged out prosecution. Lost incentive to move quickly.b.Submarine patents: File patent for establishing of priority, then drag out prosecution making little changes paying fees but keeping patent secret, then 30 years later let it issue, have full term in tact and industry would have moved on not knowing patent was looming (submarine), maybe come up with same things. Now infringing.2.1995: Changed patent term to 20 years from date of filing.4 minor adjustments:a.If subject to interference delaying patent, get up to 5 years back. b.Products going through regulatory procedures: drugs, cosmetics, certain food products. § 156, you can petition for adjustmentc.Maintenance fees, don't pay fee lose patent (4th, 8th, 12th, 16th year) to make sure you still want patent. Varies patent terms.d.1999 Congress passed law for more rigorous accounting for delays that aren't your fault. (A)If PTO doesn't give you first response w/in 14th months, you can add that to your term. (B)If you respond, their delay is more than 4 months, more time back. Various targets that PTO must hit, else you can petition for time back.3.Inventor's rights after inventor's patent application is published after 18 months:After the patent issues, inventor gets some rights to enforce infractions that occurred after 18 months but before issuance.C.Patents v Other IP1.Trademark Lawa.Ex. X has shredded wheat patent, patents it, patent expires and says trademarked named. Suppose name wasn't descriptive.(A)During patent term name has become associated with both the product and your name. Need tm to talk about product. Singer, etc.(B)If company wants to avoid giving up good will, they should use 2 names (Singer sewing machine) so they only lose exclusive rights to one (sewing machine) when patent expires.(C)Rule: When patent ends if tm is so associated with product that it identifies the product, trademark ends. Policy motivation being that that is the only way to get real competition.2.Trade secret Lawa.One theory: On way to patent system, allow trade secret law in interim. In reality, an inventor loses right to patent using ts for too long under 102(g). Is this good?b.TS Pros(A)Indefinite duration [as long as you protect it, obviously things like customer lists can lose value] 32
(B)Cheap (few formalities) (1)Though depends on nature of good (easy to reverse engineer?) (2)Also, both patents and ts have litigation aspects.(C)No notice needed.c.TS Cons(A)Risk of losing protection: Rival could patent and block your use.