American Innovators for Patent Reform Supports Three-Track Patent Examination and Proposes Three-Tier Patent System
Alexandria, Va. – July 22, 2010 – American Innovators for Patent Reform (AIPR) provided comment to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office regarding the agency’s “Three-Tracks” proposal that would give patent applicants greater control over how long it takes to have their patent applications examined. In addition to AIPR, presentations were made by Microsoft Corporation, the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA), the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), 3M Company and the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). The AIPR presentation was given by the organization’s Executive Director, Alec Schibanoff.
The Three-Track proposal would enable patent applicants to request “Expedited Examination” of their patents for a “cost recovery fee” that would cover the hiring and training of additional examiners. Three-Tracks would also expand the “prosecution highway” program under which patent applicants who apply in other countries can use the search report, first action and reply to that action from the foreign patent office to reduce examination time in the U.S. Patent Office. Track III in the Three-Track proposal is an optional 30-month queue prior to docketing.
“AIPR is generally in favor of the Three-Tracks proposal,” according to Alexander Poltorak, founder and President of American Innovators for Patent Reform (and also Chairman and CEO of patent licensing and patent enforcement firm General Patent Corporation). “However, just as a one-size-fits-all patent application process no longer addresses the needs of all patent applicants,” adds Dr. Poltorak, “a one-size-fits-all patent does not meet the needs of the complexities of the innovations of the Third Millennium.”
The concept for a new, three-tier patent system was proposed by Alexander Poltorak in an OpEd piece that appeared in the Washington Times on May 25.
“We need a multi-tier patent system that applies different examination standards and awards different rights to different levels of inventiveness,” Dr. Poltorak wrote. “The U.S. would benefit greatly from a shift to a multi-tier patent system with two or even three levels of patent protection: junior, regular and senior. The Patent Office would award junior patents to minor improvements. The application fees would be small and examination time short.” Poltorak proposes to examine junior patents only for novelty as industrial models are in many European countries. Eliminating examination for non-obviousness will free Patent Office examiners to spend more time on other applications related to more substantive inventions.
“A junior patent would have a short term, would not entail monopoly rights, and only afford its owner a small royalty, while a senior patent would be for significant breakthrough inventions.” He recommends that a senior patent would enjoy exclusionary rights and the longest patent term of 20 years. Everything in between would fall into an ordinary patent as we know it now, with its muddled status of non-obviousness.
About American Innovators for Patent Reform
Headquartered in New York City, American Innovators for Patent Reform (AIPR) represents a broad constituency of American innovators and innovation stakeholders, including inventors, engineers, researchers, entrepreneurs, patent owners, small businesses, universities, investors, and intellectual property professionals such as patent attorneys, patent agents, tech transfer managers and licensing executives.
AIPR opposes the Patent Reform Act of 2010 (H.R. 1260 and S. 515) and its proposed post grant opposition and a change to the first-to-file regime. AIPR advocates strengthening the U.S. intellectual property regime and increasing funding for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. AIPR advocates patent reform that creates a multi-tier patent system, synchronizes patent and copyright laws, and clearly strengthens U.S. patents.