“Changing The Horizon” Or “Lost Horizon”? – Kappos Pulls It Together

Road ahead - istockAt a meeting sponsored by Intellectual Asset Management (IPBC/Global), “Meeting the NPE Challenge,” former Director of the USPTO, David Kappos on March 13th (a Friday even) gave a speech that cogently summarized the state of the IP landscape both from the law and policy perspectives. If you have felt overwhelmed and even put off by (im)perfect storm of legislative proposals, judicial holdings, and simplistic editorials that is buffeting the patent system, you must take the time to read the text of his speech, which occupies only 14 pages, but covers almost every “incoming” that the patent system has had to duck, or endure, in recent years (Ed.: “Time flies when you are having fun”). (A copy can be found at the end of this post.) I am not going to attempt a summary here –the talk is not that long—except to say that it summarizes both “Legislative Reform” (“The AIA is working”) and more recent proposals, such as fee shifting and covered customer stays. Section 101 is covered –“the courts seems to have lost their way”—including the recent attacks on software patents—(“Software patents are not statistically prone to being ‘bad’ patents”).

The second section of the speech is entitled “Competition Matters.” This section discusses proposals to create new IEEE SEP rules. Kappos even tackles anti-trust-based attacks on the patent system (“A patent is a monopoly on something that would not even exist but for the patent itself”), and the positive effects that patents have on lowering consumer costs and increasing access, particularly in “mobile technology.” Innovation itself trumps “existential treat[s] to an efficient tech market.” (“How many of you today in the audience are carrying in your pocket a Motorola pager or a Nokia cell phone?”) Well, I said I wouldn’t summarize the entire speech, but it is so well written that it is hard to resist quoting his sharp point and actual opinions.

Kappos speech

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One Response to “Changing The Horizon” Or “Lost Horizon”? – Kappos Pulls It Together

  1. Paul Cole says:

    With regard to Dave Kappos’ comments on s.101, I have not studied the abstract idea cases in detail and hence am not in a position to comment. However, with regard to natural products it is arguable that the problem is not with the Supreme Court but instead with over-broad interpretation of the Court’s decisions by the lower courts and the Federal Circuit. That interpretation is not consistent with the warnings noted by Mr Kappos that there should be careful balance.

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