USPTO Director Jon Dudas talks patent reformFebruary 28, 2007

Over at ZDnet there is very good coverage of a recent speech about patent reform by USPTO director Jon Dudas. Mr. Dudas spoke at the Tech Policy Summit on the issue of whether the patent system was hurting innovation. Mr. Dudas stated that the biggest problem leading to bad quality patents is the obviousness requirement, which the Supreme Court is addressing in the KSR v. Teleflex case argued last November (a decision is expected soon). There, the Court is considering whether the Federal Circuit’s test for obviousness is correct or should be revised. Currently, to show an invention to be obvious, there must be some “teaching, suggestion, or motivation” to either combine or modify prior art references to produce the invention. Many believe that the Supreme Court will either throw out this test, or at least make it not the exclusive way an invention can be shown to be obvious. The full coverage of his comments is worth a look, as he addresses issues such as how the debate about patent reform is framed, efficiency at the USPTO, and the potential for third-party submisssions of prior art during the examination process, such as the Peer to Patent project being developed by New York Law School. As previously blogged here, the UK is also considering a third-party review process.

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