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Obama To Sign 'America Invents Act of 2011' Today

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the system-and-method-for-inhaling-oxygen dept.

Patents 244

ideonexus writes "President Obama will be signing the 'America Invents Act of 2011' into law today at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va. The bill will transition America from a 'first-to-invent" to a 'first-to-file" country, but critics argue that the bill fails to address the more important problem that 'nobody can tell what a patent covers until they've spent months or years working it out, often in the courts.'"

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America Invents? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37420406)

What kind of title is that? Doublespeak and marketing entering politics.

Re:America Invents? (5, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 3 years ago | (#37420428)

Like the PATRIOT act. The title is an ironic opposite of what the act actually does.

Re:America Invents? (4, Insightful)

Enry (630) | about 3 years ago | (#37420528)

Clear Skies Act, No Child Left Behind...

Re:America Invents? (5, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 3 years ago | (#37420612)

First to file.

Now.

Raise filing fees and barriers to protect incumbent interests.

Why not? In Amerika today, money has already become the right to vote, and the right to speech.

Re:America Invents? (0)

jhoegl (638955) | about 3 years ago | (#37421240)

We should change it by staying home and not voting!

Re:America Invents? (0)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about 3 years ago | (#37421350)

I've tried it... seems to be getting worse.

Re:America Invents? (2)

TideX (1908876) | about 3 years ago | (#37421086)

...the Bill of Rights

Re:America Invents? (5, Informative)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 3 years ago | (#37421484)

He ALSO signed a continuation of Emergency Powers [ucsb.edu] .

How Nice.

Funny this little occurrence receives so little attention, when, of these invoked powers, The Washington Times wrote on September 18, 2001:

Simply by proclaiming a national emergency on Friday, President Bush activated some 500 dormant legal provisions, including those allowing him to impose censorship and martial law.

I guess there wasn't enough NewSpeak in that article for the WT to preserve it from their Memory Hole. Here it is on the Wayback:
http://web.archive.org/web/20010918184425/www.washtimes.com/national/20010918-1136.htm [archive.org]

Now, back to Barry's continuation of the legacy:

Notice of September 9, 2011

Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to Certain Terrorist Attacks

Consistent with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act, 50 U.S.C. 1622(d), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency previously declared on September 14, 2001, in Proclamation 7463, with respect to the
terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks on the United States.

Because the terrorist threat continues, the national emergency declared on September 14, 2001, and the powers and authorities adopted to deal with that emergency must continue in effect beyond September 14, 2011. Therefore, I am continuing in effect for an additional year the national emergency that was declared on September 14, 2001, with respect to the terrorist threat.

This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.

(Signed, BO)

Re:America Invents? (0)

mfh (56) | about 3 years ago | (#37421374)

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

Re:America Invents? (1)

mutewinter (688449) | about 3 years ago | (#37421404)

Or "Healthcare Reform" that makes it illegal not to buy the product your claiming to reform.

As soon as I hear "Reform" on the end of the bill I cringe. Its obvious it was written by the same people that the bill allegedly regulates.

I don't think the founding fathers of the United States ever would have imagined that an elected government could turn in to such a satirical farce of Edward Bernays' proportions.

Re:America Invents? (2)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about 3 years ago | (#37420436)

The "China Produces Act" was already taken.

Re:America Invents? (2)

aynoknman (1071612) | about 3 years ago | (#37421122)

Doublespeak and marketing entering politics.

That should be

Doublespeak and marketing rears it's ugly head again in politics.

For many years, politics has been primarily doublespeak and marketing.

Re:America Invents? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37421262)

This bill is a scam. Included is a provision to bailout a law firm. They missed a patent deadline but with this bill, congress is giving them a pass and applying the patent retro. Its a big win for the law firm who's take from this will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
And yes, they gave heavily to Obama...

Re:America Invents? (1)

what2123 (1116571) | about 3 years ago | (#37421426)

I'd RTFA but I'm limited on time. Could you quote this from the bill?

Re:America Invents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37421458)

Cool story bro. I especially like how it is completely and totally fabricated, but stated as fact.

Spit in the ocean: (1)

Hartree (191324) | about 3 years ago | (#37420412)

Oh, this is just the start of a whole raft of things wrong with US patent law.

Business method, anyone?

I don't get "First to File" (5, Interesting)

gameboyhippo (827141) | about 3 years ago | (#37420430)

How about first to do both. You would have to have an invention before you can file. Otherwise, I'm patenting time travel.

Re:I don't get "First to File" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37420486)

How about first to do both. You would have to have an invention before you can file. Otherwise, I'm patenting time travel.

I'll do it before you. Tomorrow I will patent it last week.

Re:I don't get "First to File" (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about 3 years ago | (#37420962)

Time travel was invented on November 5, 1955, edjits

Re:I don't get "First to File" (1)

jackbird (721605) | about 3 years ago | (#37421120)

Nah, any proper time travel device will be protected by Patent #1 [wikipedia.org]

You still have to have invented it (5, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#37420526)

The old way: You have to have invented the product or process and reduced it to practice, you have to file a patent application, and you have to have invented before other inventors.
The new way: You have to have invented the product or process and reduced it to practice, you have to file a patent application, and you have to have filed before other inventors.

The purported advantage of the new way is that it's a lot easier to prove having filed first than to prove having reduced it to practice first.

Re:You still have to have invented it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37420620)

If there's any argument over who came up with it first, how is it patentable? Independent invention seems to me to indicate that something is obvious to those skilled in the art, and should not be limited solely to one "inventor" party.

Re:You still have to have invented it (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37420722)

Obvious doesn't mean that, obvious means that it's obvious to somebody that's not skilled in the art. Which is meant to prevent people from patenting ideas that would have been developed on their own without any need for R&D or work.

Re:You still have to have invented it (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37420878)

Obvious to a person having ordinary skill in the art [wikipedia.org] .

Re:You still have to have invented it (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 3 years ago | (#37421304)

Obvious doesn't mean that, obvious means that it's obvious to somebody that's not skilled in the art.

So basically, anything is patentable. I mean, one-click shopping is definitely not obvious to some Amazon tribe who've never seen a computer.

Re:You still have to have invented it (1)

Rolgar (556636) | about 3 years ago | (#37421688)

It should mean that. If a dozen ordinary engineers would come up with the same idea, I think that makes it obvious.

Frankly, if I were designing the patent system, all the patent office would have to do would write and publish a description of what an invention does. If anybody can reasonably describe the solution in detail a month, the patent is considered invalid. Patent has to be clearly better than any proposed alternatives to be considered an invention. The possibility could remain of to have tiered patents, if nobody comes close to the solution, it gets 15 years of protection, if one or two similar solutions or identical solutions are found, it's good for 1 or 3 years of protection, but if multiple solutions are found, the invention is considered obvious and disallowed. Software patents are 1/5 the length of hardware patents. Entire process should be weighted against granting any patents.

Benefits:
Simplification of the patent approval process.
Companies should be motivated to hire engineers to spend time invalidating other companies patents, and in spare time, they can document solutions found, maybe contributing the information to a repository of failed patents that would serve to supplement the patent office by offering documentation for standards and obvious inventions.

Re:You still have to have invented it (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about 3 years ago | (#37421818)

Obvious doesn't mean that, obvious means that it's obvious to somebody that's not skilled in the art.

No, the correct phrase is "a person of ordinary skill in the art". It doesn't have to be obvious to my grandmother, but to a typical programmer, engineer, etc.

Re:You still have to have invented it (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about 3 years ago | (#37421416)

Here's the deal...

In 1900 you were an inventor, you invented something...

1. nobody knows you invented something your closest neighbor can't read.
2. You have to see if your invention catches on, this can take years.
3. Most things in 2011 haven't been invented yet, we know in 2011 there is room to grow here.

In 2011 your an inventor, you invent something...

1. You've been blogging about your project for years, there are thousands of spin offs.
2. You know if your invention will take off before its invented based on the interest in your project.
3. All things we are aware of have been invented, we don't know what else we will invent, there's a ton of stuff, all the major stuff requires millions/billions of dollars of research to achieve alongside a couple of phd degrees.

The main change is between step 1 and step 2, it is almost instant in 2011. In 1900 you file after step 2, in 2011 you file after step 1, might clog our system with worthless patents of failed projects, still better than the patent troll battles going on today.

Screw the developer (1)

msobkow (48369) | about 3 years ago | (#37421436)

So if I develop something and release it as open source, any jerk with the money to pay for a patent filing can file a patent on my work and claim it as their own, because they were the first to file. :(

First-to-file doesn't affect novelty at all (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#37421474)

First-to-file doesn't affect novelty at all. Published prior art that disqualifies an invention under first-to-invent also disqualifies an invention under first-to-file. Furthermore, I've read that the Act makes it easier to challenge a questionable patent, so you'll have an easier time of getting your open source project into the USPTO examiner's hands.

Re:You still have to have invented it (2)

StillNeedMoreCoffee (123989) | about 3 years ago | (#37421676)

We will see companies and individuals flooding the patent office will all kinds of wacky half formed patents to try and get there first. Like the rush to capture Web domain names to be able to sell them to the company who's name you used finds out that there company name's domain name is owned by someone holding it hostage. I don't see that this is a useful way to go about things.

It may be that prior art can invalidate a patent still but it may be invalidated for the first to file rather than the inventor. Which would beg the question, if a first to file patent was invalidated by prior art from the inventor, could the inventor then file for the patent?

Re:I don't get "First to File" (2)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about 3 years ago | (#37420546)

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1394833#%23 [ssrn.com]

"...reforms had a small adverse effect on domestic-oriented industries and skewed the ownership structure of patented inventions towards large corporations, away from independent inventors and small businesses."

Now you get FTF. And why Obama and Hatch agree on it.

Re:I don't get "First to File" (1)

517714 (762276) | about 3 years ago | (#37421572)

The "small adverse effect" was not sufficient for our government/corporate overlords, overkill in favor of the large corporations was required. Their turn of a phrase reminds me of this [wikipedia.org]

Re:I don't get "First to File" (3, Informative)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 3 years ago | (#37420560)

How about first to do both. You would have to have an invention before you can file. Otherwise, I'm patenting time travel.

The change is as opposed to the earlier "first to invent" system, in which you could be the second person to file, but still get the patent. Basically, under the old system, say person A conceives of an idea on January 1. They diligently and continuously work to reduce the idea to practice, and file a patent application on December 1. Meanwhile, person B conceived of the idea on June 1, and being quicker, filed a patent application July 1. Even though B filed first, A would get the patent, because A had first possession of the idea.

Now, that's changed. B filed first, B wins...

... unless A published prior to June 1. Under the new rules, if A conceived of the idea on January 1, and posted it on his or her blog on January 2, that counts as prior art against B, but not A (for one year).

So, now, rather than just a race to the patent office, we actually have a race to make a public disclosure, which is a good thing.

Re:I don't get "First to File" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37420700)

Thanks for clarifying the "prior art" idea. That makes a lot more sense. And definitely, we are now "First to Post" (patent & trademark pending), then first to file within 12 months.

I wondered how the prior art clause was going to handle all the old science fiction stuff. We all know that when we get around to making a space elevator, that entity is going to make a lot of money. But that idea was printed a long time ago.

Re:I don't get "First to File" (1)

Cryacin (657549) | about 3 years ago | (#37421036)

The idea of a space elevator was conceived a long time ago, but you would be patenting HOW you do it. Schematics, or it didn't happen and all that.

Re:I don't get "First to File" (2)

tycoex (1832784) | about 3 years ago | (#37421130)

What about the patent for "look and feel" of the space elevator?

Re:I don't get "First to File" (2)

Aladrin (926209) | about 3 years ago | (#37421002)

If that disclosure thing is correct, and the courts actually see it that way, then this system is much better. First-disclosed is much better for the community than first-invented or first-filed. It's an incentive to actually report new inventions, so that everyone can eventually benefit from them.

Re:I don't get "First to File" (3, Interesting)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 3 years ago | (#37421286)

If that disclosure thing is correct, and the courts actually see it that way, then this system is much better. First-disclosed is much better for the community than first-invented or first-filed. It's an incentive to actually report new inventions, so that everyone can eventually benefit from them.

Agreed... There's one slight wrinkle, however...

In the US, you now have that encouragement to disclose your new invention immediately, to prevent anyone else from filing a patent application on it. You still have one year to file your patent application. HOWEVER, there's no one-year grace period in Europe under the EPO rules: as soon as you disclose your new invention, that disclosure is prior art to any patent application of yours, even if you file the following week. So Europe actually discourages disclosure prior to filing (and so do some other countries).

So, say you're Nokia, with manufacturing in Europe and a major market in the US... What do you do? Disclose then file, or wait to disclose until you file? The former destroys your rights in Europe, while the latter makes it possible for others to file first and block your application.

Re:I don't get "First to File" (1)

silverglade00 (1751552) | about 3 years ago | (#37421488)

Post a copy of your patent application on your website as soon as you turn it in.

Re:I don't get "First to File" (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 3 years ago | (#37421638)

Post a copy of your patent application on your website as soon as you turn it in.

Wrong problem... Say you invent something 1/1. Say it takes you a month to draft the application, to 2/1. In the US, you could publish on 1/1 and be fine. But in Europe, that publication on 1/1 would invalidate your application on 2/1. If you publish on 2/1, that's fine for Europe, but then anyone who publishes between 1/1 and 2/1 counts as prior art against you in the US. So, the US encourages you to publish on 1/1, but Europe encourages you to wait until you file on 2/1.

So why are you suing yourself? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37421742)

Why would you sue for violating your own patent?

Re:I don't get "First to File" (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 years ago | (#37421278)

" that counts as prior art against B, but not A (for one year)."
so so you missed the double talk of the bill.

AS it turns out, that one year exemption will only apply to win it's signed. After a year it won't be worth diddly.
I spend several hours listening to patent expert discuss this issue a couple of weeks ago.

Also, it will severally hamper in attempt I make to get investor in on my inventions. Because that could, quite legally, take my idea and patent it and I have NO RECOURSE.

This is the typical 'Something needs to be done, there fore anything is an improvement' response to a small and specific problem..

Re:I don't get "First to File" (1)

foobsr (693224) | about 3 years ago | (#37420940)

You would have to have an invention before you can file. ...

My understanding so far was that an idea suffices to get a patent. Afterwards, you wait until someone else comes up with the invention and then sue. Am I mistaken?

CC.

Re:I don't get "First to File" (1)

Ghostworks (991012) | about 3 years ago | (#37421516)

First, IANAL

It is true that you can get a patent without a working prototype. The act of thinking of something is the invention, not the act of building it. If your device actually does work, you can either build it yourself or license others to do so, and profit. If it doesn't work, then when someone comes along who CAN make it work, they'll probably have a different enough invention that they can get their own patent. Your previous patent will probably fall under prior art, but that doesn't matter too much. And no, if they have their own patent, you don't get to sue them. (well, unless you're claiming that the patent was incorrectly awarded that is.)

Re:I don't get "First to File" (1)

Shotgun (30919) | about 3 years ago | (#37421816)

The act of thinking of something is the invention

You may actually be correct legally, I don't actually know, but this is baloney. Ideas are a dime a dozen. I come up with ideas ALL the time. Reducing the idea to practice, ie actually making something that does what the patent claims it does, is where the real work of inventing is. The politicians may use the definition you gave, but let's face it, most of them are in politics because they can't handle real work.

It is not until you actually try to build the invention that you uncover all the nuances that make it not work. Which shaft needs an oil galley to keep the whole machine from locking up? When will a bubble sort work, and when is a merge sort the only solution? How much heat is needed and when to make the process work at a productive rate, and how much will just boil the solution? These are the types of questions that can only be answered by building the invention, and are the type that can bring a project to a standstill. Giving a patent to someone that doesn't have a working prototype is rewarding someone for doing the work that someone else will have to do.

Re:I don't get "First to File" (1)

kanweg (771128) | about 3 years ago | (#37421534)

An invention has to be described such in the patent application that an ordinary person skilled in the art (of that field) can achieve the claimed results.

Bert

Re:I don't get "First to File" (1)

black soap (2201626) | about 3 years ago | (#37421874)

That alone ought to be enough to invalidate a significant portion of the patents on the books today.

Re:I don't get "First to File" (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | about 3 years ago | (#37421748)

In theory "you can't patent an idea", but it's basically doublespeak. (They also say that you can't patent an algorithm, but then explain to me the H.264 patents.)

The trouble is software patents (again). If you look at very low level software, like when you're talking about assembly language or codecs or the like, it's basically unadulterated pure math. To the extent that you create abstractions so that you're dealing with objects and representations rather than raw numbers and equations/algorithms, you're then dealing with abstract ideas. Neither mathematics nor abstract ideas are supposed to be patentable, but yet patents on software "inventions" have been issued.

Naturally there is no actual physical 'invention' in the sense of here's a prototype of a cotton gin. It's what most people would think of as an idea. But they don't call it that, because then it wouldn't be patentable.

Re:I don't get "First to File" (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 3 years ago | (#37421032)

Once you invent time travel it's not going to be terribly difficult to be first to file... of course the time travel patent will have expired hundreds of years ago in a race to be first.

Re:I don't get "First to File" (0)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 years ago | (#37421230)

Fine, patent time travel. Be sure to include all the details, technical stuff, and reference to other patents.

You're an idiot who don't have a clue how patents worked, or what it's like to be an inventor.

You Twad.

Re:I don't get "First to File" (1)

paulxnuke (624084) | about 3 years ago | (#37421242)

You still have to have the invention, you just don't have to be the inventor.

In other words, if someone invents something and can't afford to patent it, but tries to sell it, someone who can afford a patent will grab a copy, patent it, and sue the inventor for infringing his own invention. The patent is invalid of course (prior art), but if the inventor didn't have tens of thousands of dollars to file first he probably doesn't have hundreds of thousands to challenge.

Actually, if the inventor does manage to invalidate the pirate patent I'm not sure if he can refile, so the best possible outcome might be the patent being permanently lost.

But hey, America invents. If they're stupid.

Re:I don't get "First to File" (2)

Ghostworks (991012) | about 3 years ago | (#37421296)

Before, you could challenge a patent on the basis that you actually invented something first, even though the party currently holding the patent filed first. At that point, the court would have to determine who truly invented the device or process first, usually by considering evidence such as notes, lab books, or private correspondence. Bell had to do this at one point when his telephone patent was challenged, and apocryphally came down to the question of who really understood what it meant for an "undulating" (AC) current to carry a signal. Gould, on the other hand, successfully challenged for the patent to the laser, and received the patent just in time to reap the rewards.

Pretty much every other nation on Earth is first-to-file. That means the first person to get the paperwork through wins. Thought of it first? Then you should have patented. It's easier and cheaper on the bureaucracy, so it's no surprise. There is an argument that, now that we're moving to first-to-file, the garage inventor now has no recourse against the large corporations with armies of lawyers. The people in favor say that was always true, practically speaking, and that the procedural change will save the People loads of money in court costs. However, they forget that this further incentivizes all companies to file early and file often. It will probably increase the load for the already over-worked patent office, and the quality of patents will probably go down.

Re:I don't get "First to File" (1)

kanweg (771128) | about 3 years ago | (#37421892)

Whether it is first-to-file or first-to-invent, the garage inventor will have to retain a patent attorney to file a proper description of the invention to be filed as an application.

There is hardly any paperwork to get through up to and including the time of filing. The application is mailed/faxed/filed electronically, and you have your date. The garage inventor does not have to seek recourse against the big corporations and prove he was first. He just has to file first. And if he does that, he knows for certain that there is no risk that he will be bled to financial death to prove he invented it first.

Do you know that you get a filing date even if you don't pay the filing fee? (If that's not the case in the US, file it somewhere else.). Even a garage inventor can do that.

Filing early doesn't improve your chance of securing a patent. You might deduce from the fact that your scenario isn't happening in first to file countries that there might be something wrong with that idea.

Bert

Re:I don't get "First to File" (1)

darkmeridian (119044) | about 3 years ago | (#37421548)

The USPTO has the power to request a working model of any item sought to be patented, but usually does not enforce it. This is to encourage small inventors who may have great ideas without the ability to reduce it to practice to get a patent to shop around to big companies. The exception, of course, is that the USPTO has a standing requirement that any perpetual motion device has to be reduced to practice first before it can be patented.

America (4, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | about 3 years ago | (#37420442)

Invents a better way to screw Americans.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37421196)

There are many wealthy American corporations that will benefit greatly from this.

The only ones harmed are the independent inventers and startups. Of course they should be harmed, because the primary role of government is to protect the market dominance of existing wealthy businesses against competition from startups.

I know...that isn't the ostensible role of government. But that nonsense is just to get the poor to approve of their own oppression.

Fix patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37420446)

critics argue that the bill fails to address the more important problem that 'nobody can tell what a patent covers until they've spent months or years working it out, often in the courts.

So... other than that transition from some bullshit "I thought of that first" standard to an "I got it to the government first" standard, nothing important happened. Patents are worthless, requiring expensive litigation before they have any value. They're tools of extortion because of this litigation requirement.

Oh, and business method and software patents still exist. Thanks Obama, for proving our government is more toothless than ever. "America Invents" -- hah! I'd rather do my inventing somewhere else.

Re:Fix patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37420498)

"America Invents" -- hah! I'd rather do my inventing somewhere else.

Heh, more like "America's Corporate Interests Invent", the rest of us can get in the bread line.

Re:Fix patents (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37420740)

If we're lucky, but welfare is socialism and as such un-American.

"Patent reform" (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 3 years ago | (#37420532)

The term "patent reform" clearly wasn't specific enough, in the same way that "body panel reform" to a clearly damaged car could mean whacking it with a crow bar in some random places. Hey, it's reformed, right?

We have to come up with an unmistakeable description. Patent lightening? Patent un-fucking? I dunno. Make some suggestions.

Re:"Patent reform" (1)

airfoobar (1853132) | about 3 years ago | (#37420978)

"Patent deform" perhaps?

Re:"Patent reform" (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | about 3 years ago | (#37420984)

I'm partial to Patent un-fucking. Can we go with that?

Re:"Patent reform" (1)

foobsr (693224) | about 3 years ago | (#37421018)

Make some suggestions.

Rescrewing

CC.

Woop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37420548)

Uh-oh, you can't invent it. I already patented and locked it up. :D

ZING.

I went to Thomas Jefferson (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37420590)

They at least made a "first to file" change instead of the "first to invent" garbage. I wonder if this means all that time you spent keeping detailed and dated lab books doesn't matter anymore.

Anyway... go Colonials!
-www.awkwardengineer.com [awkwardengineer.com]

Honesty in naming (4, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | about 3 years ago | (#37420676)

Again, I just posted on this in the previous story [slashdot.org] .

HONESTY IN NAMING. Give that bill's number, make them read it. Of-course this will do nothing for Obama's reelection, but this "America Invents Act" will do nothing for inventions in America.

There are 152 PAGES in that bill. (PDF warning) [house.gov]

152 pages. You'd think to have America "inventing" you wouldn't need that. What you'd need is to stop punishing people for investments with inflation, taxes, regulations and insane spending, like that on wars. How about ABOLISHING the patent system altogether and abolishing all patents and refunding those that are pending by the way? Having a freer society, so that people could ACTUALLY INVENT AND INNOVATE without FEAR of being SUED?

You think they'll stop wars in that bill? You think they'll stop inflation and encourage underconsumption, savings and investments?

Please. It's about dates of filing, it's about law suits. It's about more government protections given to large corporations. It's about lawyers.

The only 'innovation' that will be promoted by this bill will be lawyer innovation, innovative ways to file MORE LAWSUITS.

That's all this is going to do - more lawsuits and actually less innovation and fewer inventions, as always the exact opposite of what the bill is named.

Re:Honesty in naming (2)

Applekid (993327) | about 3 years ago | (#37421496)

I don't necessarily agree with abolition because it's a bit of a fatalistic fix. Patents just need to be fixed.

They were great at encouraging invention during the early US. People that filed patents would use those patents and actually make stuff. Improvements could also be filed as separate patents and the US Patent Office sorted it out and kept things nice and tidy.

Today corporations are be considered as individual people and corporations own ideas. The state of technology today is such that most of the low-hanging fruit has been picked and you're just not going to be able to invent anything without massive funding and research. Companies have sprung up to hold onto patents with no intention of using them except to later sue someone who stumbles upon doing something obvious. Even the local-boy-done-good dream of every inventor where they come up with something, patent it, and own the market for the next umpteen years and set themselves and their family on easy street is no longer valid. China will just use your patent as a blueprint and out-compete you in volume, price, distribution, and profit.

These abuses need to be corrected so that maybe individual genius might once again be valued. This is probably why do-nothing sex-tape celebrities and sport-team stars keep capturing the imagination of our children and causing the negative effect of teaching them that only the superficial selfishness matters, instead of valuing ingenuity and intelligence that really could stand a chance at improving society and everyone's lives.

At least patents still have a finite shelf life, unlike copyright which keeps getting pushed into perpetuity.

Re:Honesty in naming (2)

Migraineman (632203) | about 3 years ago | (#37421574)

Thanks for posting the PDF link. I'm reading it, and cringing ...

‘‘(b) REQUIRED STATEMENTS.—An oath or declara-
tion under subsection (a) shall contain statements that—
..‘‘(1) the application was made or was author-
..ized to be made by the affiant or declarant; and
..‘‘(2) such individual believes himself or herself
..to be the original inventor or an original joint inven-
..tor of a claimed invention in the application.
.‘‘(c) ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS.—The Director
..may specify additional information relating to the inventor
..and the invention that is required to be included in an
..oath or declaration under subsection (a).

‘‘(d) SUBSTITUTE STATEMENT.—
‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—In lieu of executing an oath
or declaration under subsection (a), the applicant for
patent may provide a substitute statement under the
circumstances described in paragraph (2) and such
additional circumstances that the Director may
specify by regulation.

‘‘(2) PERMITTED CIRCUMSTANCES.—A sub-
stitute statement under paragraph (1) is permitted
with respect to any individual who—
..‘‘(A) is unable to file the oath or declara-
..tion under subsection (a) because the indi-
..vidual—
....‘‘(i) is deceased;
....‘‘(ii) is under legal incapacity; or
....'‘(iii) cannot be found or reached after diligent effort; or
..‘‘(B) is under an obligation to assign the
..invention but has refused to make the oath or
..declaration required under subsection (a).

So apparently dead people will be allowed to file for patents, because (obviously) they can be incentivised to promote the progress of science and the useful arts. ugh.

Make sure you patent everything (3, Insightful)

Scootin159 (557129) | about 3 years ago | (#37420678)

... otherwise someone could easily steal your design, write up a patent for it, and beat you to the patent office. Now you're out of business unless you pay royalties to them because they beat you to the office first.

Makes me wonder what FOSS software hasn't been patented yet, seems like all you need to do now is file a patent and you can claim ownership over a project that you had nothing to do with.

Re:Make sure you patent everything (1)

somersault (912633) | about 3 years ago | (#37420908)

You seem not to have heard of "prior art", amirite?

Re:Make sure you patent everything (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37421192)

"Prior Art" appears to be exactly what this bill does away with, no?

Re:Make sure you patent everything (1)

hakey (1227664) | about 3 years ago | (#37421768)

I far as I can tell, first-to-file applies only to parties that keep their inventions secret, in such a case the one that files first wins. If someone publishes their invention publicly, thus establishing prior art, the invention is no longer patentable.

Re:Make sure you patent everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37421842)

I believe that there's a period of one year where any prior art isn't considered. So if an open source project were to invent something new that revolutionizes the industry, another company could easily file a patent on the invention before the open source project would be considered prior art.

Best Suggestion EVAR (3, Interesting)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | about 3 years ago | (#37420728)

I was listening to a TWiT tech podcast, don't remember which one or who said this, but... They asked for one thing in a software patent... working demonstration code.

Immediately, light bulbs were going off for me. Finally, that might solve some abandon-ware problems. Forces companies to actually make a practical use idea (rather than, "two taps does a different action than one tap" patent, and yes, that's a real patent). And, above all, satisfies what patents were originally intended for. Protecting innovation, but also, sharing that idea with others who can improve it... and a significant improvement on someone's patent is itself, patentable.

More than anything, this would also expose frivolous patents. You have to actually MAKE the product or at least a demo before you can patent it. And, code can be checked with an algorithm to see if it already exists. That would be a fabulous tool for dev shops who could check all sorts of software, and get an immediate response with a quick code search.

But does the machine halt? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#37421598)

And, code can be checked with an algorithm to see if it already exists.

That would require solving the halting problem.

Criticism (1)

Meneth (872868) | about 3 years ago | (#37420760)

This critic argues that the bill fails to address the most important problem in patent law: that it still exists!

Patents exist because of Free Rider Problem (2)

sjbe (173966) | about 3 years ago | (#37421298)

This critic argues that the bill fails to address the most important problem in patent law: that it still exists!

That is indeed unfortunate but until you can solve the even bigger problem of the free rider problem [wikipedia.org] then a well designed patent regime remains better than no patent regime. Patents may slow invention but the free rider problem can halt invention entirely. There is no point in investing lots of money developing a technology that can be copied much more cheaply by someone who doesn't have to pay your R&D costs.

You can argue (and I will probably agree) that our current patent system is rather broken. That is not the same thing as making a credible argument that it should disappear.

Re:Patents exist because of Free Rider Problem (2)

mister_playboy (1474163) | about 3 years ago | (#37421798)

That is indeed unfortunate but until you can solve the even bigger problem of the free rider problem [wikipedia.org] then a well designed patent regime remains better than no patent regime.

Big companies get a free ride from smaller ones in the current system because the small fry can't afford to defend their patents or fully exploit the advantages of their innovation against bigger entrenched interests with far more capital.

If you do something innovative, the most you can hope for is to sell your company to a bigger player... you have next to no chance of actually becoming big yourself.

Obama, Justice Roberts & the whole corporate.. (0)

Paracelcus (151056) | about 3 years ago | (#37420876)

Obama, Justice Roberts & the whole corporate government by bribery model has taken another step towards the collapse of America!

Re:Obama, Justice Roberts & the whole corporat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37421692)

Justice Roberts? if your accusing him of being corrupt, you need to back this up. Far as I can see, this man has a lot of integrity. His opinions are always spot on and there is nothing in his past to suggest anything corrupt

I agree with you on Obama. Everyone knows he is corrupt. Green Energy anyone :D

so begins the whining.... (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about 3 years ago | (#37420980)

The defense against it is simple. Do your research and publish it ALL to the public. Release it and get it out there Creative commons licensing eliminates the possibility of your idea being patented and stolen from you.

Stop being selfish asshats. Invent and release it to the wild.

Re:so begins the whining.... (1)

compro01 (777531) | about 3 years ago | (#37421102)

Creative commons licensing eliminates the possibility of your idea being patented and stolen from you.

Hah. The patent will still get awarded. Publishing it will merely means it takes 5 years instead of 10 years to get it invalidated in court.

OnLive CEO's insightful comments (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37421096)

I can't find the original PDF that I had, but this blog has a copy of a letter that the CEO of OnLive wrote, condemning this legislation. He holds a number of patents that are used throughout the tech industry, and describes from a real life example (motion capture) how first-to-file would have ruined it.

http://onlivespot.blogspot.com/2011/09/onlive-founder-and-ceo-steve-perlman.html

We'll just have to see how this goes. (1)

Bocaj (84920) | about 3 years ago | (#37421098)

You never know the full effect of legislation until it hits the courts. We'll see if this has any improvement. Personally I feel that new copyright law for software is needed and then limit patents to only physically producible items. No software patents, no business practice patents. If it can't be manufactured, you can't patent it. Patent infringement should be handled first by submitting documentation of a product that is actually being sold and your patent number to the patent office. If an examiner finds that the product matches your patent you may file with the court system. If not, you're out of luck.

Patients Stifle Competition and Innovation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37421124)

Let us all not forget that patients are designed to stifle the inventor's competition and further innovations. This has been proven. An example was drafted by analyzing the evolution of the steam engine. In a short non-cited summary: the steam engine was invented, and then several years down the track there were individual inventions made to improve the engines various capability beyond the initial innovative patient, and eventually the patient game was underway.

The game involves holding onto further inventions (and innovation) until the patient runs out. This soaks up all possible monies and fees for others competitors while the customers in the end suffer the consequences.

I am all for protecting one's investment and creative rights against people who intentionally steal your idea without the permission of the owner, like a troll scouring the net. But, some of these "inventions" are so basic and rudimentary that I am often afraid that something that I have done would have already been "patented" by someone else. Fear eventually ensues after I imagine that they're going to sue me saying, "but we invented it first, so we win" regardless as to whether you came to the same conclusion and evolution as they once did. Not much can be done to satiate needs of the masses.

Back to the change at hand. This political change is nothing but political, and it is a meaningless change to inventors. It favors billion dollar corporations, because they're going to have the monies and the drive to fund and pay filing fees. This move was done to collect more money from patent applications, they even said that they have to hire more staff to reviewing upcoming wave of applications.

Eventually all of us will be calling hopelessness,
master.

Riders (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37421200)

I am more interested in what riders are going through as part of this act as opposed to the main act itself.

More correctly called... (0)

Minter92 (148860) | about 3 years ago | (#37421204)

The somebody invents and corporations steal it act of 2011

Is this retroactive? (1)

Meneguzzi (935620) | about 3 years ago | (#37421212)

How ironic is that, because if it is, it would undermine one of the greatest achievements that Americans like to attribute to their country. Will this act from Obama cause Americans to rewrite their history books about who invented the Airplane, since the Brazilian Alberto Santos-Dumont filed first: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santos-Dumont_14-bis [wikipedia.org] ?
Before Americans start to bash me, I would suggest them read this article: http://www.airshowfan.com/first-airplane.htm [airshowfan.com]

Do this ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37421220)

Invent some truly ground breaking energy process. Get patent. Ignore patent and let any and everyone free reign on said tech. Buck system and crash economy. We all end up better off as a society.

Win and Win here folks!

Corporations Only Patent Act (1)

PortHaven (242123) | about 3 years ago | (#37421360)

Yes, having individuals file patents is bad. We will raise prices (already around several thousand dollars) to even higher levels ensuring only large corporations can claim patents and steal all invention.

Prior Art Search Step (1)

fredmunge (717927) | about 3 years ago | (#37421398)

Exhaustive patent searching in advance of application is the real solution to the problem of knowing whether an innovative idea has been reduced to practice and filed on by someone else. The new rules make searching easier, since no-one can know for sure if the invention existed before but had not been formally filed on. That said the patent examination process should not be burdened with performing the search for the inventor. It is the responsibility of the inventor to determine the existence of all prior art, and now with the new rules, the existence of all previously filed inventions. Obviously the inventor will occasionally miss something in their search that the examiner will catch, causing a bit more work for everyone. On the other hand, some inventors are so paranoid about being first to file, they will slap together an application and file it without giving due diligence to the search step. These new rules are going to exacerbate THAT problem. The real fix would seem to be giving inventors, large and small entities alike, the incentive to do a thorough search of prior art in advance of filing. yes IAAI, 20 issued so far

First to File... (1)

Eric Damron (553630) | about 3 years ago | (#37421440)

Isn't that legalized claim jumping?

What really pisses me off... (1, Funny)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | about 3 years ago | (#37421470)

I am not even going to get political here..

What really pisses me off.. is that they closed down 395 between Alexandria and DC.. fortunately for me I took lunch at 11, when they were setting up the road blocks. I just missed being stuck in about 10 miles of stopped traffic and people walking around outside of their cars on 395.. a massive road.. and one of the main thoroughfares into and out of DC..

You have a helicopter Mr President.. use the fucking thing and stop screwing up traffic that is already a mess in the first place...

I saw the traffic on the way back to work from lunch.. with miles of backup, it being a Friday where rush hour starts early, usually around lunchtime, todays commute home is going to be an absolute nightmare..

So Mr Pres.. thanks for fucking up the afternoon for about 500k drivers... (probably more)

Re:What really pisses me off... (1)

LanMan04 (790429) | about 3 years ago | (#37421762)

You drive to work in the DC metro area? What the hell is wrong with you?

WAMTA FTW.

And since when is 395 between Alexandria and the District? Don't you mean Lincolia/Springfield?

This is not the reform you are looking for.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37421500)

*Waves hand*

Oh, no it really is not the reform we were looking for. But thanks for screwing up the patent system further. This should have been named 'He with the most patent lawyers wins' act. I guess it could have also been called 'Create new lawyer jobs' act, because hey at leat some people have work right?

Stopping problem (1)

shayd2 (1689926) | about 3 years ago | (#37421566)

Deciding what a patent does is just another example of Kurt Godel's theorem

I would like to hear (1)

nimbius (983462) | about 3 years ago | (#37421634)

some real analysis on what this means. I get it, as an american im used to political bills having little to do with their meaning
but what does RMS think of this? Corey Doctorow? even the guys from Oracle and Microsoft might be neat to hear from as to
what this does and why/if it matters. Patents are weird, often times they suck, and frequently they're just surrogates for invention at all.

id also love to know who sponsored the bill
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