Readers Respond: Getting Patents Right

 
 
By eweek  |  Posted 2005-11-07 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Readers respond to the eWEEK editorial, "Getting Patents Right."

I am a patent attorney who has been in the field for more than 40 years. Your Oct. 24 editorial ("Getting Patents Right" or "Consumers Caught in Patent Case Crossfire") raises many valid points but overlooks others.

Most businesses are not in the business of litigation, but in the business of producing products and/or services for sale to the public. Litigation is a disruption to their main business purpose. In some cases, this is justifiable. However, in many cases, the disputes can be settled if the parties are reasonable and their attorneys provide good advice.

Unfortunately, law firms, especially large law firms, have turned into businesses whose business is litigation. But I cannot let the clients off the hook for following bad advice from their attorneys. We have a society that expects big bucks from lawsuits. Clients are often all too willing to follow bad advice from their attorneys in the hope of a big monetary award.

Unless these problems are recognized, tinkering with the patent statute only deals with the periphery of the problems and does not solve them. The debate should focus more on the root causes, and perhaps then we can begin to arrive at solutions.

C. Lamont Whitham
Whitham, Curtis & Christofferson, P.C.
Your Oct. 24 editorial deserves some comment ("Getting Patents Right" or "Consumers Caught in Patent Case Crossfire"). If "the tail of inventor enrichment is currently wagging the dog of social benefit," that would primarily be because you are putting the wagon ahead of the horse. I would equate intellectual property rights with fundamental private property rights in that IP rights are an end in themselves. If we start with the premise that IP rights are there for purposes of "social benefit," then it wont be long before private property rights are subordinated to the same social benefit. One outcome would be that corporations have no right to their profits, or that I dont really own my home.

Carlos C. Tapang
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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