You can’t go a week without a new story regarding mobile patents and President Obama has signed the America Invents Act in an attempt to offer major reform for the patent system.
The new patent law will allow the patent office to set fees for patents and keep them, as previously, the Congress had diverted some of its revenues for other projects. This money is aimed at helping the patent office handle the patent backlog it is currently facing, as well as potentially have the resources to assign more knowledgeable people on the patent in question.
Additionally, this moves the patent system to a first-to-file instead of to the first person who creates it. This puts the United States in step with most other countries around the world but some fear this gives the advantage to deep-pocketed companies and will lead to a race to file, regardless of if you’ve actually invented something.
On the White House blog, a new provision is detailed for how to challenge patents.
The Act also establishes a new in-house review process for challenging patents—a process that is faster and significantly cheaper than litigation, which too often stymies technological growth. By resolving disputes about patent rights earlier, more efficiently, and at lower cost, we can add greater certainty to—and cultivate greater confidence it—the American patent system.
Does this mean that we’ll see less mobile patent lawsuits? I hope so but shifting from a federal court to the patent office may just move the battle to another field, not actually stop the fighting. We’ll keep an eye on this and what it means for mobile companies.