[Fsfe-ie] US Congress to Overhaul Patent Law
alex-list at ffii.org.uk
Tue Aug 23 13:16:46 CEST 2005
On Aug 23, 2005, at 18:52, Éibhear wrote:
> In a first-to-file scenario the dispute between who actually invented
> technology becomes moot.
However, the first-to-invent scenario pushes the date before which
prior art has to be dated to some time before the filing. There is some
confusion about what this means, with some people erroneously thinking
that under first-to-file there's no such thing as "prior art". But
prior art is information that is public knowledge --- "first-to-invent"
means the patent belongs to someone who invented first it but kept it
Under a first-to-file system, any prior art before the date of filing
invalidates the patent. Under first-to-invent, it has to date from
before the invention date. ISTM that first-to-invent makes submarine
patenting easier --- a would-be patent troll can write about a
technology he thinks might be big in the next 5 years or so, get
someone to witness it (as evidence of the "invention date") keep it
secret for a while then as he suspects it's going to be big file a
patent on it. Much prior art will not be valid because even though it
dates before the filing date, it is after the invention date when
no-one was using it since it was not feasible at the time.
AIUI first-to-invent helps the Dysons of this world --- the idea is to
allow the mythical small inventor in his garage to test-market an
invention to see if it is worth patenting without big copycats stealing
it. Our concern is almost exclusively that we need protection *from*
patents, so from our PoV, first-to-file is better.
Alex Macfie, Taipei, Taiwan R.O.C.
alex at cgce.net
More information about the FSFE-IE