The IPKat would like to bring two little gems from the New York Times to your attention.
Monday’s edition provides coverage of a new book criticising the patent system which has been published by an economics professor and a professor of investment banking. What interests the IPKat is that the criticisms do not stem from the nature of patents per se. Instead they lay the blame at the feet of administrative reforms to the US system, such as the introduction of the Federal Circuit for hearing patent cases and the fact that the USPTO has become self-funding. These reforms have had unintended consequences. For example, there is great time pressure on patent examiners, which means that patents cannot be examined properly. Also, patents are the subject of increasing amounts of litigation and it is the interests of the finite pool of patent attorneys to make sure that it keeps growing. Luckily though, the dynamic duo propose a solution involving getting more information into the hands of patent examiners and scrapping juries who aren’t well equipped to deal with complicated technical issues in patent infringement actions.
Meanwhile, Tuesday’s edition reports on a bill that is before the Senate which would introduce enhanced liability for the providers of P2P networks and anyone else who induces another to infringe copyright protected work. The bill has received a hostile response from the consumer electricals industry, who expressed the fear that the makers of photocopiers and iPods could be held liable under the bill. RIAA however has welcomed it. Mitch Glazier, senior vice president of RIAA has said (referring to the actions brought by RIAA against downloaders):
“We don't want them having American kids doing the dirty work for them.”The IPKat isn’t surprised that RIAA supports the bill but suspects that RIAA’s newfound concern for the “kids” of America may be a result of the hostile press it got when bringing actions against individual downloaders earlier this year. The IPKat wonders whether this statement indicates that RIAA has had a change of strategy regarding its approach to individual downloaders.
More kids doing the dirty work here
More problems with patents here, here and here