Barack Obama in 2011 announced a streamlining of the patent system that he said would help to spur economic growth. He noted that the US Patent Office receives 500,000 patent applications a year and has a 700,000 patent backlog.
This is classic Obama: Let’s spend more money on a government agency to… help the economy?
That will not solve the problem. The main problem in the economy is that the same Democrats who want to increase the size of government are at the same time strangling private-sector growth through excessive regulations, taxes, enviro laws, labor union agitation and lawsuits.
In fact someone with a good idea that already has been patented can’t today find capital to manufacture his product because of Obama’s policies. People with capital are afraid to let go of it.
Is the patent process bogged down?
Yes, definitely. But not for the reasons you think. The real reason is that 98% of the patents granted in America are useless and frivolous and are clogging the system. This is nothing new. They are like the thousands of people with a screenplay in the drawer who are sure that it will be the next Follywood hit.
It is estimated that half of all the patents filed in America have been filed in the last 40 years while the other half were filed in the previous 150 years.
The best thing Obama could do for the US Patent Office is to tell hundreds of thousands of “inventors” to forget about filing their patent, that their idea is not going anywhere anyway. A drastic reduction in the number of patents applied for would be the best thing for the whole system. Meanwhile the serious people know who they are and will continue to pursue their patents.
Patents today have become like a lottery ticket, as if your titanium socks or nuclear-powered fly swatter is certainly going to take off and make you a multi-millionaire. These “inventor” TV shows only fuel the patent firestorm.
This is part of the Culture of Leisure being advocated by the Media Liberals in America, that nobody should really have to work, that we are all going to hit it big like Taylor Swift or Jimmie Johnson, that working every day is something that only Evil Republicans want you to do, that you are going to make millions on your ‘invention’.
I, Nikitas, know a little about the patent process. Over the last 15 years, I have designed three separate types of useful seating devices each with a specific application, along with eleven other useful products. I have inquired a little bit about patents and someday I may try to patent my ideas and manufacture and market them. But up to now I have only enjoyed designing them but never have patented or even sought to patent one single idea.
The reason is because I knew long ago that America is flooded with patents. People are spending huge amounts of money to retain patent lawyers and mostly for no good reason. It is sad to see one of these people on TV who has spent his/her life savings on some ridiculous idea that is obviously going nowhere.
I know my chair and my other ideas are good ones because I am a rational person with a good mind and I always challenge myself with every possible question. I have tested each idea exhaustively. But I will not spend a penny on a patent until I have the financial backing to manufacture and market these ideas. Because otherwise you are wasting your time and money, and also are flooding the patent system.
Thus streamlining the patent office is not going to lead us out of the recession. We have many good ideas out there already that people want to develop if Obama and his overbearing government would just get out of the way. Obama obviously was using the Patent Office backlog as yet another excuse for the terrible economy.
I met a guy once who had spent $40,000 on a patent for a portable gas stove for people in poor countries. It sure seemed like a lot of money to me and the idea didn’t even seem that original. And this story is repeated over and over and over. And from knowing this guy I would say that he has wasted $40,000.
Perhaps my ideas will eventually pay off, perhaps not. But I take a serious view and do not see the patent itself as the key anyway. And that is the critical error that most patent filers make.
A small number of patents become valuable in their own right and they make the patent filer rich. But mostly the value of a patent is in the manufacture and sale of the article patented if indeed it becomes successful in the market. And that is first of all rare and second it entails great financial risk.
I saw one story about a guy who had invented a plastic gun that blows smoke rings made out of an inert gas. It is obviously a novelty item that would be used a few times and then set aside. He held the patent but was not actually manufacturing the gun. So the manufacturer could have been making money on the gun; the inventor himself said that 350,000 guns had been sold. But the inventor said that he had not made any money at all.
Enough said. This shows that even the patent for a commercially successful product may end up meaning zero to its filer. And that the biggest problem in the patent system today is simple – too many patents.
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