On my never ending march across the web, I came across an interesting blog post on CNET highlighting that patent filings so far in 2009 have dropped significantly from previous years. Matt Asay highlights that some reports see this as a clear indication of the bad economy and what a detrimental impact it will have on innovation. Matt and other reporters take the stance that in fact such a drop may help innovation; that perhaps significant number of patent fillings in recent years are simply not legitimate and pointless. However, factually, I’m not sure if that’s necessarily accurate; because there does not seem to be a system in place to quickly and easily analyse patents, their nature and their impact within an industry. So its difficulty to say the rising number of patents in previous years was simply the ever growing number of at-home inventors (or programmers) desperate to lock in a patent and their million-dollar dream.
- First to File: Moving to a first-to-file system that credits invention based on the filing date of the patent application rather than on the date of actual invention.
- Damages: Must look to the invention's "specific contribution over the prior art" to determine damages.
- Expanded Reexamination Proceedings: Reexaminations may be requested based on published prior art, or evidence of prior public use or sale in the US.
- Additional Post Grant Review: Within 12 months of issuance, a third party can file a cancellation petition based on any ground of invalidity (rather than simply prior art).
- Patent Litigation Venue: "A party shall not manufacture venue by assignment, incorporation, or otherwise to invoke the venue of a specific district court."