Today I come to praise the United States First-to-Invent Patent System, and to bury it.
I was a fan of your fairness to solo and small inventors, allowing them the opportunity to compete with big business on a small budget by giving them the opportunity to prove they were the first to invent, even if it took them longer to perfect the invention and file a patent. I loved how you made the system about the invention not the patent.
To all the inventors out there, today is the last day to file your patent applications under the First-to-Invent rules. I know patent attorneys across the nation are working hard to ensure their clients get the benefit of the old rules, by filing thousands of patent applications by Midnight tonight.
But beware. One amendment to the claims after tomorrow means your patent could be governed by the new rules.
Tomorrow our patent system will turn its back on small business and solo inventors in favor of those who have the money to file early, file often. Embracing the First-to-File model means that the United States follows the herd in the name of “predictability” and “certainty of outcome” (not really, but it sounds good in soundbites), while at the same time creating uncertainty and unpredictability in our courts for at least the next 20 years.
Tomorrow we declare in unison with the rest of the world that the only thing that matters is the patent. As if inventing somehow is the equivalent of filing a patent application. This is such an un-American notion to me, but one I will have to live with.
At a time when we should be doing everything to help our future business leaders, we are ensuring that small startups and entrepreneurs will have to choose between designing great products and filing patents, just to win that “race to the Patent Office”.
I guess I have to accept that Congress in its infinite wisdom knows what it’s doing to help our economy recover, just like when it decided that the Sequester was the answer to our Federal budget woes. You multi-millionaires who sit in seats of power must truly understand what this nation needs.
Maybe you are hoping to siphon off all of those extra filing fees to shore up social security. Certainly all of the extra money spent on patent attorneys will help our sagging legal industry.
But alas, I know this is not true. I must face reality and live with your stupid, dumb-ass attempts to fix a patent system that isn’t broken because solving the real issues that we face as a nation is just too damn difficult for you.
Our unique Patent System comes to an end to day. A grand experiment that has helped build a great nation.
Rest in peace First-to-Invent. American business is better today because of you.