Print 17 comment(s) - last by BugblatterIII.. on Nov 28 at 8:52 AM

According to the former IBM consul, the patent system has never been healthier

Amid increasingly noisy criticism about questionable patents (see: Apple, Inc. (AAPLpatents animating turning pages) and criticism from veteran judges regarded as some of the nation's foremost intellectual property experts, the head of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is firing back.

David Kappos, who has served as USPTO Director for the past several years, delivered a pointed speech a week ago entitled "An Examination of Software Patents" in which he argues that software patents are perfectly valid and comments, "[Critics should] move beyond the flippant rhetoric and instead engage in substantive discussion."

He said in the speech that rather than proof of a broken system, the deluge of smartphone patent lawsuits is a sign that the smartphone industry is engaging in innovation at a "breakneck pace".  Directly addressing those who say the system is broken, he comments rhetorically, "Broken? What?"

But Director Kappos' days of defending the USPTO's current policies are coming to a close, as he announced this week that he would be stepping down.  The lawyer, who previously served as an attorney for International Business Machines, Inc. (IBM) did not say what his future plans were.  The announcement was considered somewhat unexpected.

David Kappos
USPTO Director David Kappos [Image Source: Center for Am. Progress/Flickr]

Even Director Kappos' critics praise some of his moves, such as his push to appoint more patent examiners, to reduce a backlog of filings, which in turn tend to lead to hasty examinations.  During his tenure examiners increased to 8,000, a 30% increase.

He also pushed for cooperation with the engineering community via making information available to Stack Exchange, as a means of expediting the search for prior art.

Other moves were largely outside the Director's control.  For example, Congress tasked him with implementing the America Invents Act of 2011, which switches the U.S. from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file system for patents filed after March 2013. 

Director Kappos was tasked with executing the change to first-to-file. [Image Source: Unknown]

Yet other moves still were viewed in a mixed light; for example his decision to open patent examination offices in New York City and Silicon Valley drew praise from some, but raised fears from others who feared that it would give software companies a quicker path to inundated the filing channels with "junk" patents.

There has been no announcement yet on who will take over as Director at the USPTO.

Source: Patently

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animations are patents
By tviceman on 11/27/2012 2:25:06 PM , Rating: 5
That is how broken the system is. A gesture as simple as sliding left to right is patented. A rectangle with round edges is patented. The animation of a page turning is patented.

The system is completely broken. What a jackoff.

RE: animations are patents
By andrewaggb on 11/27/2012 2:50:29 PM , Rating: 2
Totally agree. I'm baffled how you can patent animations for things we observe in real life. That's most of what a video game, cartoon etc is.

RE: animations are patents
By BugblatterIII on 11/27/2012 7:52:27 PM , Rating: 2
I should patent hitting someone with a frying pan and leaving the shape of their face in it...

Erm, cartoon-wise I mean. Do Not Try This At Home.

RE: animations are patents
By ClownPuncher on 11/27/2012 2:59:14 PM , Rating: 5
Of course he would praise the work he has done. Most people don't come out and say, "Hey guys, turns out I'm an idiot".

RE: animations are patents
By amanojaku on 11/27/2012 5:15:20 PM , Rating: 2
That's probably because:

"Incompetent People Too Ignorant to Know It"

RE: animations are patents
By ClownPuncher on 11/27/2012 7:51:53 PM , Rating: 2
That explains why Tony Swash has no shame.

RE: animations are patents
By MechanicalTechie on 11/27/2012 6:38:24 PM , Rating: 2
How the hell is David Kappos still employed?

Maybe he owns the patent on incomplience!

RE: animations are patents
By Howard on 11/27/2012 8:33:36 PM , Rating: 2
If you're going to insult someone, at least spell your words correctly.

RE: animations are patents
By MechanicalTechie on 11/27/2012 10:20:14 PM , Rating: 2
Fair call :)

And I thought it look wrong a millisecond after i clicked Post.

Hopefully his speech got him fired
By BugblatterIII on 11/27/2012 7:58:17 PM , Rating: 2
Showing yourself to be that incredibly out of touch with the area you're supposed to be in charge of can't be good for your career prospects.

Hopefully they'll replace him with someone who at least realises what a mess they're in, even if they don't know how to fix it.

RE: Hopefully his speech got him fired
By drycrust3 on 11/27/2012 9:36:34 PM , Rating: 2
Hopefully they'll replace him with someone who at least realises what a mess they're in

The problem being companies like HTC have already had to sign treaties to stay in business.

By BugblatterIII on 11/28/2012 8:52:47 AM , Rating: 2
Those agreements are less of a problem than those trying to take their competitors' products off the market.

Complete moron
By docnok on 11/27/2012 3:16:36 PM , Rating: 5
Your complete failure to grasp the situation is exactly why you're headed out the front door. Don't let it hit you in the ass on the way out.

<clears throat>
By Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer on 11/27/2012 2:24:13 PM , Rating: 2

Trying to ban competitors...
By Cheesew1z69 on 11/27/2012 2:45:09 PM , Rating: 2
Yup...innovation at its finest!

What an idiot...

The system is broken!
By ZorkZork on 11/27/2012 5:49:25 PM , Rating: 2
The system is broken when you can patent simple gestures, obvious inventions, file formats, etc. It is broken for the following reasons:

- It becomes a market barrier for new companies that start up without a patent portfolio.

- It makes the “real” inventions much less valuable, because companies can get the same level of exclusivity with one of the silly patents.

- It increases the cost of doing business. To run a business you have to acquire or file for loads of patents simply to defend yourself. Add the cost of litigation on top of that.

- It reduces completion in the market and choice for the consumers.

The system is broken and this guy was part of the problem.

Stack Exchange?
By Trisped on 11/27/2012 6:38:17 PM , Rating: 2
He also pushed for cooperation with the engineering community via making information available to Stack Exchange
Stack Exchange? As in ? Or is this a reference to something else?

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