Judge Richard Posner (7th Circuit) apparently wants to broaden the scope of his rulings in Apple v. Motorola—first dismissing the expert damages evidence and then dismissing the case—to the entire patent system. “The cost of patenting and the cost of resolving disputes that may arise when competitors have patents are a social waste,” the judge writes, in a recent editorial for Atlantic Monthly, “Why There Are Too Many Patents in America.” After citing just a few of the problems, Posner offers a few remedial suggestions, highlighting the pharmaceutical industry, in particular, including:
reducing the patent term for inventors in industries that do not have the peculiar characteristics of pharmaceuticals that I described; instituting a system of compulsory licensing of patented inventions; eliminating court trials, including jury trials in patent cases, by expanding the authority and procedures of the Patent and Trademark Office to make it the trier of patent cases, subject to limited appellate review in the courts; forbidding patent trolling by requiring the patentee to produce the patented invention within a specified period, or lose the patent; and (what is beginning) provide special training for federal judges who volunteer to preside over patent litigation.
Posner admits he doesn’t have the expertise to assess his proposed reforms, but insists, “both the problems and the possible solutions merit greater attention than they are receiving.”
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