I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Pat Choate, former Vice-Presidential candidate for the United States and author of Hot Property: The Stealing of Ideas in An Age of Globalization. Pat Choate spent more than four years researching the history of intellectual property throughout the world. Hot Property provides an unparalleled review of the history of intellectual property and the impact that IP has had on the spirit of ingenuity. Hot Property also provides insight into the current state of affairs of intellectual property within the U.S. and between the U.S. and its trading partners.
Among the insights that emanated from this interview are the following:
- One problem with the patent system in the U.S.today is pendancy. Pendancy is the time that it takes from when an inventor submits an application to the patent office to the time that they receive a decision on whether they will be granted a patent. When Alexander Graham Bell filed for his patent, it took the patent office three weeks to make a decision. Three weeks after he filed, Alexander Graham Bell had his patent. Many people complained that if you rushed things out in that way, the patents wouldn’t hold up. But the patent Alexander Graham received withstood 600 lawsuits, five of which went to the Supreme Court. Today, the pendancy rate is about two and a half years. It takes two and a half years from the time you file your application until you get a decision. But in the high-tech world that we are in, speed is important. Innovation changes quickly. We need basically to reduce that pendancy rate to something like six or eight months.
- One problem with pre-mature publication, is that under the 18-month rule, all participating countries in the World Trade Organization must put the patent applications up, make them public at 18 months from the time they’ve been filed. The U.S.puts those up in the form of the Internet; so does Europe and Japan. The Japanese patent office recently did an examination, and one of the things they found was that out of China they’re getting 17,000 hits a day on the patent publications. In other words, you have the Chinese and others going in and taking a look before an application has a patent and pulling down the technology. It is a great boon for counterfeiters.
- The litigation crisis surrounding intellectual property is overblown. Each year we’ll have about 2,000 patent lawsuits filed in the U.S.; of those, only 97 a year, less than 100, will actually go to trial — and 97 lawsuits is not a patent crisis!
Our next IP conference, Intellectual Property - Maximizing Returns on Your Intellectual Property Portfolio Conference, will take place in San Francisco on January 16-17, 2007 . More information about this conference is available from Naomi Barazani at 609-919-1895 x100 or email@example.com. This interview can also be obtained for $50.
To find out more on IncreMental Advantage's Intellectual Property Conference Series, visit www.incrementaladvantage.com/conferences.