As has been discussed elsewhere, USPTO Director Jon Dudas spoke at the Tech Policy Summit here in San Jose last week. Of primary concern was the current state of the U.S. patent system and its flaws. Dudas, being the good company man, preferred to dwell on the positive aspects of the current system, while mentioning some places where improvement would be beneficial. In answering critics of the system who point to foreign patent regimes as superior models (mostly due to the first to file system in other countries), Dudas was quick to point out that he travels abroad often and is asked “How can we model our system after the U.S.?” by foreign nations. He went on to say that framing the debate around how the current system stifles innovation was the wrong way to go about it. It seems apparent that, given the text of the Constitution (ââ?¬Å?to promote the progress of science and useful artsââ?¬Â?), the patent system should be first evaluated in the terms of how it is promoting/stifling innovation. Director Dudas has previously acknowledged in a press release (regarding farming out some PCT examinations to IP Australia) that: “High quality and timely examination of patent applications advances science and technology and creates the certainty innovators need in capital driven markets” and “a growing backlog is detrimental to U.S. innovation and the economy.ââ?¬Â? Given Dudasââ?¬â?¢ statements, it would seem that he knows that patent quality, the time it takes to acquire a patent, and the growing backlog are major issues that need to be addressed. He also acknowledges that those problems have a significant impact on innovation. Logically speaking, why wouldnââ?¬â?¢t a discussion of innovation and what inhibits innovation be a good place to start the debate?

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