The patent debate is filled with articles, news and opinions that often include intricate, technical and potentially unfamiliar words. Save the Inventor thought it was about time to clear up all the confusion. With the inventor’s glossary, we will help you cut through the rhetoric and get to the facts surrounding the issue.
This week Save the Inventor has defined demand letters and inter partes review.
A demand letter is a written request by a patent owner to a person or company accused of infringing a patent. A demand letter can order the accused infringer to stop infringing the claims, and may offer a license.
What this means for inventors
In recent years, abusive demand letters have victimized thousands of small businesses and cost them millions of dollars in annual legal fees. Proposed patent legislation claims to combat these demand letters, but the overbroad language risks undermining the incentives to innovate. One of the greatest values of a patent to an inventor is the ability to enforce it in a meaningful way. If that enforceability is weakened due to the bad behavior of a few, then the value is no longer there and inventors will be less likely to invest in patenting their ideas.
Inter Partes Review
Inter Partes Review, enacted on September 16, 2012 as part of the America Invents Act, is a trial proceeding conducted at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board to review the patentability of one or more claims in a patent.
What this means for inventors A person who is not the owner of a patent may file a petition with the Patent Office to institute an Inter Partes Review of an issued patent. This has become increasingly popular, as the current rules are stacked in favor of the challenger. These new procedures will do little other than ensure that patent owners with valuable patents face endless challenges. This will result in inventors being less incentivized to innovate and patent their idea, due to the risk of being challenged and losing their protection. It also increases risk for investors, chasing money away from innovation.
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