New Patent Proposals: It Shouldn't Be Obvious, for Starters

Wednesday, April 28 2004 @ 08:01 PM EDT

Contributed by: PJ

More recognition that the US patent system needs tweaking. A new report from the National Academies' National Research Council sets forth recommendations for improving the patent system:

One suggestion from the report, which you will be able to obtain here, is "an "'open review procedure' for third parties to challenge recently issued patents before the USPTO's administrative patent judges, who would resolve questions about a given patent's validity. If administrative judges handled these validity questions, then federal district courts could focus on patent-infringement issues. . . . The report also urges the USPTO to strenuously observe the statutory requirement known as the 'nonobviousness standard,' which says that in order to qualify for a patent, an invention cannot be obvious to a person of ordinary skill in a given area."

The study was sponsored by NASA, U.S. Department of Commerce, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Center for the Public Domain, Pharmacia Corp., Merck & Co. Inc., Procter & Gamble Co., and IBM. The National Research Council is the principal operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. It is a private, nonprofit institution that provides science and technology advice under a congressional charter. An executive summary is here.