You can now help the USPTO invalidate bad patents, and perhaps slow down the patent wars

prior art - for some reason we don't have an alt tag hereAs technology enthusiasts, we here at Pocketables have complained quite a bit about the seemingly never ending patent wars. Particularly vicious between Apple and Android vendors, the patent wars do practically nothing for consumers, and on occasion even take away features users once had.

Naturally, this alone is frustrating, but what makes it even worse is that, more often than not, the patents on which these lawsuits are based are incredibly broad.

Samsung Wireless charger

With only a bit of exaggeration, saying that manufacturers have been suing over black bezels, icon grids, and basic phone features (LTE, calendar event adding) isn’t too far from the truth.

In the past, everyone complained about how these broad patents were being used, and even that they were being issued in the first place. For example, why should a company get a patent on something so simple as a popup menu or well organized icons? Previously, there was not much the public could do other than complain, but fortunately that has just changed.

There is now an official website, courtesy of Stack Exchange, which users can utilize to submit questionable patents, prior art for existing patents, see what patents are waiting to be granted, and discuss the validity of patents. Thanks to a recent law change, the USPTO can take this information into account when looking at patents, which should help with the number of broad technology patents granted. All the users have to do is submit evidence against a certain patent, and once everyone feels that there is enough information the files and claim can be submitted directly to the patent office.

It may not be the final solution, but this is certainly a start. If this works out the way I hope it will, I think that it could potentially utilize the power of crowdsourcing to positive change the way technology patents are granted in this country, which, as I think most of us agree, would be a good thing.

[Wired]
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Aaron Orquia

Aaron Orquia is an associate editor at Pocketables. He has been using Android and Linux since he bought his first computer years ago, and his interest in technology, software, and tweaking both to work just right has only grown stronger since then. His current gadgets include a OnePlus One, a Pebble smartwatch, and an Acer C720 Chromebook.

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10 thoughts on “You can now help the USPTO invalidate bad patents, and perhaps slow down the patent wars

  • Avatar of nathan
    September 21, 2012 at 6:01 pm
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    Hopefully common sense will be knocked into these patent officers when they read the site. You got to question if there’s something going on when such idiotic patents (like having a black bezel) are granted.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Abraham
    September 21, 2012 at 11:06 pm
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    Very interesting. Yet, I can see how some people/companies might try to make up some “evidence” or previous art.

    Yet, it is a beginning and hopefully this helps not stop, but control a bit better all the funny business that has been going on these past few years.

    Reply
  • Avatar of etiyi
    September 22, 2012 at 7:17 am
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    Well this is a step in the right direction. These broad patents are ridiculous.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Eric Regan
    September 22, 2012 at 5:14 pm
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    I really don’t see how this is going to help the patent wars, but maybe that’s just me.

    Reply
  • Avatar of danindenver
    September 22, 2012 at 5:20 pm
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    I’d love to see some common sense injected into this field.

    Reminds me of the situation in the former Soviet states where people were filing for patents on everything from soup to nuts and then filing lawsuits against people who made the items prior to the patent filing.

    Wonder if the Soviets invented the idea of patenting software, ie, mathematical formulas?

    Reply
  • Avatar of danindenver
    September 22, 2012 at 5:21 pm
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    Gee, I wonder if Einstein patented E=mc2?

    Reply
  • Avatar of Nagaraj
    September 22, 2012 at 7:23 pm
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    getting rid of t”bogus” patents may actually help companies to innovate much better and achieve tech feats worthy of patents

    Reply
  • Avatar of D. Stroya
    September 24, 2012 at 7:01 am
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    Online discussion of patents? Enter a new type of patent troll… :D sorry I couldn’t help myself

    Reply
  • Avatar of Greg M
    September 24, 2012 at 1:51 pm
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    Here’s hoping to less patent wars over such trivial and silly things as rounded corners and pop-up menus.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Doug Culp
    September 24, 2012 at 2:42 pm
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    This is cool. Maybe if enough get stopped along the way, Apple will stop crying over the competition.

    Reply

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