U.S. Patent Quality Questioned in Industry Poll

Patent Litigation Costing More



13 Sep, 2005, 01:00 ET from Intellectual Property Owners Association

    SEATTLE, Sept. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- During its annual meeting in Seattle
 today, Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) released results of a
 survey showing that its corporate members perceive the quality of patents
 granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to be less than satisfactory.
     Over half of respondents, 51.3 percent, rated the quality of patents
 issued in the U.S. today as less than satisfactory or poor (47.5 percent less
 than satisfactory and 3.8 percent poor).  Those rating quality more than
 satisfactory or outstanding were 8.8 percent of all respondents (8.8 percent
 more than satisfactory and 0 percent outstanding). The portion saying it is
 satisfactory was 40.0 percent.
     Respondents' prognosis for the future was not encouraging.  Over two-
 thirds of respondents said they thought the patent process would get longer,
 not shorter, over the next three years.  And nearly three-quarters said they
 would be spending more, not less, on patent litigation over the coming years.
     IPO President J. Jeffrey Hawley said, "IPO believes that higher patent
 quality is critically important for boosting American technology and reducing
 business litigation.  The survey results confirm the concerns of IPO members
 and others since the 1990's.  The significance of the survey is two-fold: It
 verifies that quality is perceived to be less than satisfactory and it
 provides a baseline for future IPO surveys of patent quality.  We intend to
 repeat the survey at least once a year."
     Additional survey results:
 
     * Compared with quality 3 years ago, more companies thought quality is
       worse now than thought it is better (24.3 percent somewhat worse, 12.7
       percent somewhat better and 53.3 percent the same).
 
     * For the next three years, more companies thought quality will get worse
       than thought it will improve (28.7 percent get worse, 15.0 percent
       improve, and 51.2 percent stay the same).
 
     * A large majority said the patent filing and issuing process in the U.S.
       Patent and Trademark Office will get longer during the next three years
       (67.5 percent get longer, 16.3 percent get shorter, 13.8 percent stay
       the same).
 
     * A striking 73.8 percent of companies said their resources spent on
       patent litigation will increase over the next three years (73.8 percent
       will increase, 2.5 percent will decrease, 17.5 percent will stay the
       same and 6.3 percent don't know).
 
     IPO's members are companies, individuals, and law firms who own or are
 interested in patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets.  Eighty of
 the 139 corporate members polled responded to the survey, which was conducted
 during August.  Respondents were primarily larger companies (more than half
 with annual revenues exceeding $10 billion) from diverse industries including
 computers, electronics, software, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology,
 consumer products, machinery, and general manufacturing.
     High quality patents are usually thought of as those that will hold up if
 challenged in court.  In order to issue high quality patents the U.S. Patent
 and Trademark Office (PTO) must (1) conduct thorough searches of earlier
 technology (2) correctly apply statutory requirements for obtaining a patent,
 and (3) communicate clearly with the patent applicant and create an adequate
 record of the examination of the application.
     Between 1992 and 2004 Congress diverted to unrelated government programs
 more than three-quarters of a billion dollars that patent applicants paid to
 the PTO to have their patent applications processed.  IPO believes the loss of
 funding and delays in modernizing the agency's operations have been primary
 causes of the current weaknesses in patent quality and the growing delays in
 processing.
     IPO supported an increase in fees that Congress enacted last year to give
 the PTO an additional $200 million a year.  IPO supports a robust hiring
 program now under way at the PTO to add more patent examiners and supports
 implementation of the PTO's "21st Century Strategic Plan," which is designed
 to improve operations.  IPO also supports certain legislation now pending in
 Congress to reform the patent system.
     For a report containing more detailed results of the IPO survey please
 visit: http://www.ipo.org/PatentQualityReport.
 
     About IPO
     Founded in 1972, IPO is a national trade association for owners of
 patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets in all industries and fields
 of technology. IPO was established to broaden public understanding of
 intellectual property rights. Members include large and small businesses,
 universities, intellectual property attorneys, and independent inventors and
 authors.
 
 

SOURCE Intellectual Property Owners Association
    SEATTLE, Sept. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- During its annual meeting in Seattle
 today, Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) released results of a
 survey showing that its corporate members perceive the quality of patents
 granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to be less than satisfactory.
     Over half of respondents, 51.3 percent, rated the quality of patents
 issued in the U.S. today as less than satisfactory or poor (47.5 percent less
 than satisfactory and 3.8 percent poor).  Those rating quality more than
 satisfactory or outstanding were 8.8 percent of all respondents (8.8 percent
 more than satisfactory and 0 percent outstanding). The portion saying it is
 satisfactory was 40.0 percent.
     Respondents' prognosis for the future was not encouraging.  Over two-
 thirds of respondents said they thought the patent process would get longer,
 not shorter, over the next three years.  And nearly three-quarters said they
 would be spending more, not less, on patent litigation over the coming years.
     IPO President J. Jeffrey Hawley said, "IPO believes that higher patent
 quality is critically important for boosting American technology and reducing
 business litigation.  The survey results confirm the concerns of IPO members
 and others since the 1990's.  The significance of the survey is two-fold: It
 verifies that quality is perceived to be less than satisfactory and it
 provides a baseline for future IPO surveys of patent quality.  We intend to
 repeat the survey at least once a year."
     Additional survey results:
 
     * Compared with quality 3 years ago, more companies thought quality is
       worse now than thought it is better (24.3 percent somewhat worse, 12.7
       percent somewhat better and 53.3 percent the same).
 
     * For the next three years, more companies thought quality will get worse
       than thought it will improve (28.7 percent get worse, 15.0 percent
       improve, and 51.2 percent stay the same).
 
     * A large majority said the patent filing and issuing process in the U.S.
       Patent and Trademark Office will get longer during the next three years
       (67.5 percent get longer, 16.3 percent get shorter, 13.8 percent stay
       the same).
 
     * A striking 73.8 percent of companies said their resources spent on
       patent litigation will increase over the next three years (73.8 percent
       will increase, 2.5 percent will decrease, 17.5 percent will stay the
       same and 6.3 percent don't know).
 
     IPO's members are companies, individuals, and law firms who own or are
 interested in patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets.  Eighty of
 the 139 corporate members polled responded to the survey, which was conducted
 during August.  Respondents were primarily larger companies (more than half
 with annual revenues exceeding $10 billion) from diverse industries including
 computers, electronics, software, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology,
 consumer products, machinery, and general manufacturing.
     High quality patents are usually thought of as those that will hold up if
 challenged in court.  In order to issue high quality patents the U.S. Patent
 and Trademark Office (PTO) must (1) conduct thorough searches of earlier
 technology (2) correctly apply statutory requirements for obtaining a patent,
 and (3) communicate clearly with the patent applicant and create an adequate
 record of the examination of the application.
     Between 1992 and 2004 Congress diverted to unrelated government programs
 more than three-quarters of a billion dollars that patent applicants paid to
 the PTO to have their patent applications processed.  IPO believes the loss of
 funding and delays in modernizing the agency's operations have been primary
 causes of the current weaknesses in patent quality and the growing delays in
 processing.
     IPO supported an increase in fees that Congress enacted last year to give
 the PTO an additional $200 million a year.  IPO supports a robust hiring
 program now under way at the PTO to add more patent examiners and supports
 implementation of the PTO's "21st Century Strategic Plan," which is designed
 to improve operations.  IPO also supports certain legislation now pending in
 Congress to reform the patent system.
     For a report containing more detailed results of the IPO survey please
 visit: http://www.ipo.org/PatentQualityReport.
 
     About IPO
     Founded in 1972, IPO is a national trade association for owners of
 patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets in all industries and fields
 of technology. IPO was established to broaden public understanding of
 intellectual property rights. Members include large and small businesses,
 universities, intellectual property attorneys, and independent inventors and
 authors.
 
 SOURCE  Intellectual Property Owners Association