The USPTO has been overwhelmed by both the volume and the novelty of applications for software patents, and they can't maintain a qualified staff. Patents currently last 20 years, which is way too long in the software business.
While I would never -- and have never -- advocated for abolishing the patent system, because that would be throwing the baby out with the bath water, we do need to fix our patent system so that it rewards innovation, not manipulation.
it is critically important to the success of our patent system that it maintain high patent quality and ensures only deserving patents are issued. Unfortunately, the American patent system today is suffering from extremely low patent quality.
There has been much reporting lately of a small patent holding company named Arrivalstar accusing public transit authorities of patent infringement if they provide commuters with real time information about train, bus or subway schedules.
I've recently talked with several folks in the high-tech industry who informed me that part of the reason large companies have been stocking up on patents lately is because they view them like nuclear weapons -- they're a deterrent.
Within the startup world, patents are seen as anti-competitive force that stifles innovation. We're in a place where we need to walk a tightrope between the world of predatory patent prosecution and the need to promote one's invention with current patent law.
The Google/Motorola deal is lawyer repellent. Or rat poison, if you prefer. It is a tragic and wasteful byproduct of our screwed-up patent system. Nevertheless, this is good for Google and Android and its ecosystem.