- Posted by MatadorAdmin
- On August 7, 2017
The Patent laws are supposed to protect the rights of those who invent products and create innovative content. The ultimate goal of the Patent laws is to stimulate economic growth by enabling American companies to thrive. However, these laws do not always work properly in practice and, under the present structure, small companies and individual inventors can be overwhelmed by the system that is designed to protect them.
The American Invents Act (AIA) changed the U.S. patent system from a First-to-Invent (FTI) system to a First-inventor-to-File (FITF) system. The new system means that the Patent Office is more concerned with investigating the act of a patent application being filed, as opposed to anything about the the invention process. Theoretically, this change was introduced to create a fairer patent system which worked more quickly and cost less for those seeking to patent new products. Further amendments were added following the initial introduction of the act, with the goal of weakening Patent Trolls operating in the US.
However, some innovators have argued that the new regulations have actually ended up valuing the rights of corporations over the rights of inventors. Under previous first-to-invent rules, the inventor of a product may still have been entitled to a patent if they were able to show that they were applying due diligence and preparing a thorough patent. In these cases, the true inventor could become the patent holder if they were able to show that they invented the product first and were diligently pursuing a patent. The new First to File system means that an inventor must prepare an adequate patent application as soon as possible, lest someone else get to the Patent Office first. Opponents of the new system suggests that well-funded corporations who understand the patent system may be able to abuse the system by filing full patents before small-scale inventors have the opportunity to prepare adequate applications.
Nonetheless, small inventors can still prosper in the new system. For example, the patent holder for the Bunch o’ Balloons children’s toy recently announced that he has spent over $17 million to try to protect his patent from corporate infringers. However, he has received much more in license fees! Nonetheless, small-scale inventors without the backing of a larger producer may not be able to finance a multi-layered legal battle or be able to afford to bring a thorough defense case.
Madstad Engineering has also argued that the new FITF system places an undue burden on firms to protect their own intellectual property. This is particularly difficult for technology firms and small app designers, who are particularly susceptible to hackers. They argue that these firms are forced to shoulder heightened security costs to help them to protect their ideas before patents were ready to be filed.