Readers Respond: Fixing the Patent Mess
Readers respond to the eWEEK editorial, "Fixing the Patent Mess."Case Law states that an issued U.S. patent is presumed valid (Editorial, "Fixing the patent mess," Jan. 16). Trial courts pay scant lip service to this presumption, and if the presumption was ever valid, no knowledgeable individual believes in it today. Even when Patent Office examiners have the necessary expertise to examine the most complicated and advanced technology, they are under such time pressure to perform their duty that they rarely have time to read a patent application in its entirety before beginning their search for prior art. They also rarely have time to consider prior art other than issued U.S. patents. The patent examiner also has to be concerned about the classification of U.S. patents he or she is searching. Computer searches are relied upon increasingly, if not entirely, because of time constraints, and such searches depend on the accuracy of database input and the completeness of the search request.
As to prior art submissions by outside parties, one has the uneasy task of persuading an examiner that he or she has not performed an adequate search and that prior art exists that was missed by the examiner. I doubt if I am the only person who has experienced a strong bias inside the Patent Office against prior art submitted by an outside party.
Hilton Head Island, N.C.