At an event co-sponsored by the US Patent and Trademark Office, The Biotechnology Industry Organization and the Biojudiciary Project, David J. Kappos, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office gave a speech on “From Chakrabarty to Today.
Kappos remarked that there is no question that the Chakrabarty pivotal decision had a seismic effect on US patent policy, giving birth to a new mode of thinking at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
In part, Kappos connected the past changes to the patent system with the now proposed patent reform act:
And while we gather here in the light of this case’s 30th Anniversary and reflect on its history to infer guidance for the road ahead—
Today, we also stand at the precipice of a new history. One that, through Congressional patent reform legislation, will historically redefine the nexus of patenting and innovation.
Just last week the U.S. House of Representatives demonstrated significant leadership in passing the American Invents Act—representing a major step towards transforming our patent laws to account for the modern stresses and expectations of a fast-moving 21st century global economy.
While we are diligently working to reconcile the bill with a version passed earlier this Spring in the Senate—we are stand at the threshold of major change and a truly “Jeffersonian moment.”
Recognizing that innovation is at the heart of human progress and patents are how we drive that progress forward, Kappos believes that changing the patenting process, small and independent inventors to move their ideas to the market place faster and enable all of you to do your jobs more easily.
And if we get this right, we can foresee resolutions to post-grant review processes that take shape in less than one year.
If we get this right, we can equip our agency with the thousands of additional examiners it will require to tackle the backlog—which for far too long as been an enemy of progress.
If we get this right, we can confirm the strength of patents efficiently or even promptly let businesses know that their claims are in fact not strong enough.
Either way, efficient processing grants independent inventors and large biotech firms alike the assurances you need to move your technologies and services forward. That way, if we get this right, business can conduct business…without constant speculation or endless arbitration.
Let me be clear—should patent reform be signed into law, implementing a robust IP infrastructure around it will not be easy—but we are up for the challenge.
30 June 2011