Microsoft in the present day proposed a sequence of reforms for the U.S. patent system — asking the U.S. Patent Workplace to extend its requirements for patent critiques, suggesting a “loser pays” system for curbing frivolous lawsuits, and calling for an finish to the widespread apply of patent house owners shielding their true identification.
Brad Smith, Microsoft’s common counsel, outlined the proposals throughout an occasion in Washington, D.C., and in a related blog post. Along with the gadgets above, Smith additionally reiterated the corporate’s name for corporations to pledge to not search injunctions on standard-essential patents, a difficulty on the crux of Microsoft’s ongoing authorized dispute with Google’s Motorola division.
The decision for more transparency about patent possession will put Microsoft at odds with many patent house owners that generally maintain patents by way of associates, or shell corporations, with names that differ from their precise company identities.
Examples of corporations that do that embody Mental Ventures, the patent holding firm led by Nathan Myhrvold, the previous Microsoft chief expertise officer.
Smith writes, “One of many major capabilities of patents is to offer discover each of the invention and who owns it. Disclosure of the actual social gathering in curiosity for a specific patent reduces the probability of opportunistic habits and gamesmanship, serving to to facilitate licensing. … With transparency, we will help convey extra daylight to the patent system.”
He notes that Microsoft by April will publish info on the internet to make it clear which patents it owns, and he calls on different corporations to observe its lead.
On the “loser pays” proposal, he writes, “A lot frivolous litigation is pushed by patent assertion entities (PAEs) – corporations that lie in wait, exploiting the dearth of transparency in the patent system to “maintain up” others. As PAEs don’t make merchandise of their very own and acquire litigation financing from third events, they usually face no disincentive to submitting swimsuit. A technology-neutral “loser pays” system for patent circumstances would power corporations to internalize the power of their case beforehand, deterring frivolous litigation.”
And on the problem of patent high quality, he says patent examiners want more time to contemplate every utility, with higher entry to prior artwork. “Candidates ought to use normal phrases in their claims the place they exist, and outline non-standard phrases when they don’t. Collectively, these steps will assist keep away from overbroad patents and make clear the metes and bounds of the patent grant.”