Subject: Re: PriorArt.org & Patenting
From: Adam Theo <adamtheo@theoretic.com>
Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 14:25:47 -0400

I first must say I have mostly followed this thread, although it often
goes way over my head, since I've never been involved or educated
about the patenting system, especially when it comes to the court and
legal aspects of it. But with that said, I still do have my own
opinions on it, and want to reply to the arguments going on that I can
still remember.

First, on the issue of the PTO. It has been said (can't remember who,
read it a few days ago) that priorart.org and those like it are a bad
idea because they will effectively destroy any chance of stopping a
new patent by taking away opponents best weapons in the court: prior
art the PTO did not consider. I say i think it is doubtful (with my
very limted knowlege and experience about the PTO's record, anyway)
the PTO is so biased or incompetant that they will disregard all prior
art no matter what. i think that all prior art brought before the PTO
would be effective if it clearly showed (i heard the proper
terminology for this used in this thread, but can't remember) that the
new patent being applied for was not significant enough. So prior art
should not be brought before a new patent application at the PTO only
serves to wrack up costs in court, delay the ultimate decision on the
matter, and be overall a waste of effort when it could be done in the
first place at the PTO.

Second, on the issue of PTO fairness. One of the arguments for
withholding prior art from the PTO to bring it up in court is that the
PTO *is* biased or incompetant (or something else with the same
effect). It *will* almost automatically disregard all prior art and
grant the patent anyway, and therefore destroying any chance of
getting the patent "undone" in the courts. To this i say the problem
then is not the openness of prior art, but fixing the PTO. I know,
many will think this is impossible, or not worth the effort. I say it
can be done, and is very worth the effort to try. It is, after all,
dealing with the entire IP system of the U.S., and indirectly the
world.

Third, on the issue of the Courts' fairness. Basically follow the
point above, just replacing 'PTO' with 'The court', with the same
conclusion.

Fourth, on the issue of economic benefits of 'open patents'. (i'm using
that 'open patents' term until i know what else to use, i'm sure there
is a proper name for it.) (and also to say i am not an economist,
although i always wish to learn more of it.) with the lagal issues of
prior art and whether patens should exist in the first place, i feel
the best situation for the american people, and also american business
and government (although they would not think so, preferring the
status quo) is to have prior art readily accessible not only for the
PTO and court cases, but also for potential patent applicants
themselves. I more or less understand the basic arguments against the
patent system, and although i generally support the right to one's own
IP creations, and being able to keep others from it, i do feel the
current patent system... well, sucks. it gives way too much power to
some, and not enough to others, creating a system where it's becoming
increasingly easy for those with the power to gain more at the expense
of those who don't. I like patents overall, and think they should be
kept, so the best solution is to have all patents readily accessible,
and allow, even encourage, everyone else to look at them and try to
create similar creations that are only slightly different, hopefully
improved. the original patent holder still has rights to his creation,
but the new guy has rights to his slight alteration. this
re-introduces free competition into the IP system, and although this
could result in higher costs for developing old technologies, it will
reduce the cost for developing new ones. what i mean is it would favor
the newcomer over the person who is already in the field, but i don't
know enough economics or law to fully develop this point. i am very
imnterested, however, so if anyone can help educate me on his, i would
be much appreciative.

-- 
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