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Experts mull changes to software patent process

Publication Date: 
April 27, 2009
Source: 
Software Development Times
Author: 
David Worthington

Professor Mark A. Lemley is quoted in the Software Development Times in an article about the pros and cons of tightening the rules regarding software patents:

In response to the controversy surrounding software patents, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has tightened up considerably on granting them, and they are now harder to get than any other type of patent (except for business methods). That’s the view of Mark A. Lemley, a professor of law at Stanford Law School and director of Stanford's program in law, science and technology.

Lemley, who testified about patent reform and patent litigations in front of the U.S Senate in February, said that while patent reform in Congress has proven a long and difficult process, the USPTO has taken steps itself to tighten up the patent process.

Some patents issued by the USPTO over the years should not have been granted, said Lemley. Those questionable patents can negatively impact innovation, particularly when they are enforced against innovative companies, he added.

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While patent reform in Congress has proven a long and difficult process, Lemley said, he believes that some sort of reform bill will pass in this Congressional session.

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Lemley suggested that one of the easiest reforms for Congress to enact would be a system that would give stronger patents to those who are willing to go through, "a more searching review in the USPTO."