If there is a problem with the patent system, it is not that patents are issued too hastily but rather that many are issued too slowly [Jim Rapozas Tech Directions, "Some Patent-ly Good News," June 12. Witness the current backlog and pendency. I, for example, have applications with a pendency of 14 years. In one instance, it took three years just to get a first office action.
By the time an inventor gets his or her patent, the technology is of no value. That is the problem everyone should be focused on—not this imaginary issue of patent quality trumped up and propped up by large multinationals as a way to stifle innovation and further cement their market control. Can you say "monopoly"?
Ours is a finely tuned patent system developed over 200 years that has led to U.S. dominance in technology. We had better think carefully and move cautiously, lest we create more problems than we solve and reap unintended and unforeseen consequences.
All this is then not about present abuse of the system by inventors or a need for patent reform but, rather, systematic past and present abuses by large companies. Witness the present conduct of firms like RIM in using the courts to drag out a final verdict. The judge in that case remarked about how delays frustrate justice.
F. Scott Kieff
Associate Professor of Law
Washington University School of Law
Office 2007, in my opinion, is a loser for the SMB [small and midsize business] market. This is because of the flawed design and keystone position of Outlook. Just as the Microsoft OS has become a behemoth, so has Office.