In 2004, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) launched a project to take on improperly-granted software patents that negatively affect innovation and free expression. The EFF’s Patent Busting Project has generated publicity about bad patents, and has resulted thus far in three rexaminations and and five cancelled claims. On March 8, 2007, Tech LawForum editor Erik Schmidt interviewed project director Jason Schultz at EFF in San Francisco.

01: Introduction to Patent-Busting

“It sort of became our top ten most wanted list of bad patents that were being used to shake people down.” 2 min.

02: Patent Reform Groups

“I see the Patent Busting Project as part of the overall effort to bring the patent system back to rationality. Especially in the software and Internet fields it’s really gotten out of control on some levels.” 2 min. download mp3

03: Measuring Success

“Calling attention to it has definitely been a success and has generated a lot of conversation and pressure, I think, to move forward on reform…” 1 min. download mp3

04: Software Patents

“Some people of have misconstrued the Patent Busting Project as being anti patent. It’s more anti bad patent.” 1 min. download mp3

05: Patent Trolls

“Those actors can be very dangerous, but this project focuses on the folks who don’t have the resources to hire lawyers to defend themselves against them.” 1 min. download mp3

06: Patent Reform Progress

“The big area where you’re seeing some of the reform right now is actually at the Supreme Court.” 4 min. download mp3

07: The Public’s Role

“We rely very much on the public at large and technologists who want to help us out.” 3 min. download mp3

08: US Patent Office Changes

“Quite honestly, in many ways the problems at the Patent Office are always going to be there.” 2 min. download mp3

09: Worst of the Worst

“It’s a patent on a number of different video game kind of techniques, I should say online game techniques, that are very primative and fundamental.” 3 min. download mp3

10: Congress and Patent Reform

“I think intuitively we understand that biotech and pharmaceutical products are different than software, but lawyers love to debate definitions.” 5 min. download mp3

11: Conclusion

“Those struggles have been really critical to helping us figure out what’s important about this fight.” 5 min.

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