Improve Patent Quality

Patents that protect investments in new technology, that contribute to the public storehouse of knowledge, and that have clear boundaries can support innovation.  But, unfortunately, many patents fall short of these standards.  Instead, they claim trivial differences over the prior art, broadly overreach to capture every way of solving a problem while contributing none, and have vague, malleable claims.  These low-quality patents are sand in the gears of innovation. They create uncertainty that deters R&D and the creation of new products and services; they generate wasteful litigation, settlement and licensing costs; and they feed patent thickets in which tens of thousands of patents cover a single high-tech product or service.


We support actions to improve patent quality, including those listed below:


  • The Patent Office and courts should more strongly enforce clarity requirements to ensure that the patent and prosecution history create a record that provides public notice of what is covered and what is not.

  • The Patent Office and courts should require that patent applications fully describe and explain specific solutions to technical problems to ensure that that patentees contribute to the store of public knowledge in exchange for receiving an exclusive grant.

  • The Patent Office and courts should better recognize when an invention is claimed in functional language and limit the scope of such claims to the specific solutions disclosed in the patent.

  • Courts should define claims in light of the specification so that claim scope is clear and commensurate with the contribution a patent makes to the public.

  • Courts, not Congress, should define the line between eligible and ineligible subject matter and apply it to fast-changing technologies.  Section 101 of the Patent Act and over a hundred years of Supreme Court case law, reject the patenting of abstract ideas.  The doctrine of patent-eligible subject matter plays an important role in a healthy patent system by preventing patentees from taxing technology developed by others and tying up concepts that should be free for all to use.

  • The Patent Office should reform its examination procedures to ensure that every patent application is thoroughly examined based on the best prior art.

  • Patent applicants should act as partners with the USPTO by submitting high-quality patent applications that explain how the invention works and differs from the prior art while defining claim scope with clear language.

  • The Patent Office should continue to receive funding based on all the user fees that it collects.

© 2018 by High Tech Inventors Alliance

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