Ron D. Katznelson, President of Bi-Level Technologies and a critic of patent reform efforts that would harm small entities and independent inventors, wrote an article for Greg Aharonian's PatNews blog about why the proposed change to a "first-to-file" (FTF) patent system would put individuals and smaller entities at a distinct disadvantage. ("Will first-to-invent always frustrate patent reform?", PatNews, February 8, 2011)
Katznelson explains that Prior User Rights (PUR) would naturally follow if FTF becomes law - and patent rights could be dramatically eroded if that happens.
"[PUR] would allow an accused infringer to demonstrate their prior use of the patented technology to avoid infringement of a subsequently patented invention, even if the accused had not disclosed the invention to the public," Katznelson writes. "That would allow private and secret prior use to destroy a public patent right — and eliminate the patent holder’s rights to that patent not only with respect to the prior user, but with respect to the rest of the world."
The article and Aharonian's comments on it can be read here.