The PTO has proposed major increases in fees to implement the America Invents Act (AIA). The argument is the PTO fees should match the service provided. But this can lead to surprising results. For example, Harold Wegner suggested a patent that has hundreds of claims will be effectively insulated from challenge because the PTO proposes to charge half a million in PTO fees. We need to return to reason. The user based system only needs to work at the aggregate level. We don't make litigants pay the true cost of litigating in federal district court, and it doesn't make sense to hold users of the AIA contested procedures to this standard either. If we raise the PTO fees as proposed, smaller companies will not use them because they are no longer affordable. And we don't need a patent system that can be only accessed by the largest companies. Startups should also have access to ex parte reexamination, post grant review, and inter partes review to challenge doubtful patents and implement Congress' objective to give all of us an inexpensive alternative to litigation.
Also see America Intellectual Property Law Associate (AIPLA) comments on the proposed fee increase.
Copyright © 2012 Robert Moll. All rights reserved.