The patent portfolio of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has been scrutinized by the public and industry for years, and it seems to be on the verge of being re-opened for business.
The patent system has long been criticized as a system of patent protection that is unfair to small businesses and innovation.
That’s not necessarily the case, though, according to a report from the American Society of News Editors (ASNE).
The NASE report, titled “Pricing the Patent Pool: A Look at the Risks and Benefits of Risks,” shows that the current patent system is largely ineffective.
The authors note that “the number of patents granted in the U to firms is now much higher than the number granted in 1998.
While patent fees for new technology companies are higher, they have increased dramatically.
While the costs to society are much higher, the profits are still lower.”
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“There’s a lot of risk in the system that’s created this system,” said ASNE Director of Research Robert Kyncl.
“It’s a system that has worked for a long time.
It’s the system we want to change.
We want to put a system in place that’s better.”
In the report, Kynckli describes the patent pool as “a complex system, a complex structure,” where a lot is tied together.
A patent application has to be filed in order to get a patent, and that application has a history of being withdrawn or rejected at least in part because of its “high risk.”
The patent system also has a long history of “unfairness,” he says.
A lot of the decisions are made in private, and the patent system tends to favor firms with “big patent portfolios.”
The problem with the patent patent system, he says, is that the government “does not do much to make sure it’s a fair system for innovation.”
In many cases, patent trolls have “brought litigation against a small number of companies,” and the system has resulted in “huge profits for large patent holders,” Kynclin says.
To make matters worse, patent applications that have been withdrawn or denied by the patent office have a very long history, he adds.
“Patents are not a good record of innovation.”
In many cases the patent portfolio is based on the patent applicant’s history, and there are a lot more patents than patents.
Kynkl notes that the number of “smaller” patents issued to companies has increased dramatically in the past few decades, from about 10,000 to about 25,000.
“These [small] companies tend to be in the business of building cars and other vehicles, and they tend to do better with smaller portfolios,” he said.
“And these are the companies that have the most patents, so the patents are going to be a lot higher, and so the portfolio is going to get bigger and bigger.”
Kyncl says that a lot can be done to increase the number and diversity of patents issued, but there’s a very high risk that those changes could “end up putting a brake on innovation.”
He says the patent systems that have existed for decades are “not doing a very good job of that.”
He says there is a way to increase patent diversity by increasing the number in the patent database, which could be accomplished by:Increasing the number that the patent examiner has to process, increasing the numbers of applications filed in the database, increasing “the quality of the information that the applicant has to provide in their applications” and by allowing for “a lot of competition.”
The report notes that it is not unusual for a large number of the applications to be withdrawn from the patent registry.
The report concludes that the system of patents “can be a very costly and inefficient way to process applications and create a more robust patent portfolio.”
To read more about the report and to download the full report, visit the NASE website.
Follow Kara Davis on Twitter at @KaraDavisAP.
Follow the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) at @NAIC_Committee.