“Global patent warming” & IP system

Posted on 03/10/2008 · Posted in ideas, patents

Creative Commons License Photo credit: Rammorrison

Some thoughts on patent system.

The IP system as such (patent offices, patent filing, patent attorneys, patent search engines..) has worked smoothly for the past decades all over the world, but this is a system basically put in place before the bit and the globalisation era.

Our IP landscape is strictly tied to the innovation system. More innovations should equal more patents. Now that there are hundreds of thousand applications per year, the system is risking to collapse.

The actual IP world is a logical consequence of the need for a strong and clear system of rights for users,  inventors and licensees. Business, trade, development, market, even part of the learning system is built upon these rules.

But lately there has been another major change in the IP environment: more and more companies (mostly big and cash rich) have been sued over patent infringement (btw Microsoft is sued more than any other company in the US).

This gives the company sued, and the sector in which it operates, uncertainty. And uncertainty is bad.

These cases are not really easy to deal with,  and this tremendous complexity both for legal and for technical issues is costing a lot of money and resources. Even if the legal system get it right (say that  it ends with the right solution), the costs involved in terms of time, financial means and efforts are going up and up and up.

There is a common opinion among IP executives and lawyers that there are risks in the IP system, and they call this phenomenon the “Global patent warming” and they think a reform is now necessary.

To me the key point is that we need to understand that we have more in common than we have not in common, and we should collaborate. Cooperation is key. A correct management of ip issues in the future is our (feasible) target.

 Stop arguing, fighting and battling and get something done. At the end of the game, we always need to compromise, so there is no way the reform is the victory of one industry over others, or one country over others: we are all users of the same IP system and in order to have a good solution in the longer term we need to sacrify a little in the shorter term.

(IP Faber is beyond intellectual property and always works toward good solutions)