"What can Academics do to Fix Patent Law?"

A Known Mess

At the Patent Reform in Action conference John Duffy, Professor of Law at UV, asked the audience, "What can academics do?"

No answer could be simpler: teach responsibility to your students.


Aside: I Know the Ethical Folks

I met patent attorneys who do not behave how I describe, of course, and they all had one thing in common: they were in-house or they authentically behaved like in-house because they took a stake in the patent.


100% Unethical Advice

100% of non-in-house patent attorneys I surveyed over two and a half years spouted the same unethical party line antithetical to both entrepreneurs and human advancement.

The ubiquitous, industry lie: "It's the Patent Examiner's responsibility to perform due diligence on your patent application."

No other position or advice I touched in my career offers such a blatant disregard for ethics.


Entrepreneur: when your Examiner is wrong, when your attorney is wrong, who suffers?

Sure as hell not them.

Your inventions, your business, these are your responsibilities.


Rephrase

Imagine a physical trainer telling you to remain ignorant about your heart condition or your home construction crew to recommend not checking the land on which you plan to build.

Another way to phrase their advice: Do not take responsibility for yourself and your creation.

"It's the Patent Examiner's responsibility." === "Do not de-risk the core of your business."

And providing this non-service costs $60,000.


Illogic and the Semantic Lottery

The supposed logic hinges on what I call a Semantic Lottery.

Instead of suggesting innovate for real, attorneys attempt to game the patent system — and holy cow you would not believe the games played — by rewording.

Process that.

        ATTORNEY
    (smiling, charging $425/hr)
Well, Competitor X has a patent which exactly matches your invention but if we change this word we can probably get it past the Examiner.  

Your invention did not change. You did not innovate. You did not even have a novel idea.

Sometimes — most of the time — you do not deserve a patent. (And by pushing to get one, entrepreneur, you are part of the problem.)

Of course, a neophyte on intellectual property, an IP noob, how would you know the self-serving anti-advice peddled by this charlatan hurts you?

Their entire responsibility is to serve you and properly advise you. This is why you pay them thousands, tens of thousands of dollars.

And they dispense horseshit to your face.


Aside: Pre-dispelling Nonsense

Yes, the Examiner, measured by their output and accuracy, gets penalized for sloppy results.

In a semantic, bullshit way, yes, it is their responsibility.


"What can Academics do?"

Respectfully, John and Harry and all the other badass academics I met, teach your charges to stop hawking this bullshit: "It's the Examiner's responsibility."

Add one word to that mantra: also.

It is also the Examiner's responsibility.

First and foremost it is the entrepreneur's responsibility.

Don't believe me?

Entrepreneur: when your Examiner is wrong, when your attorney is wrong, who suffers?

Sure as hell not them.

Your inventions, your business, these are your responsibilities.

Respect your own time and effort, respect the time and effort of your team, and respect your shareholders.


How to Talk to Your Patent Attorney

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