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Showing posts from June, 2007

US Patents: US Patent Reform

In the latest issue of her excellent monthly "Intellections", Toni Tease has analysed two identical patent reform bills that were introduced simultaneously into the House of Representatives and Senate on 18 April 2007. Toni had previously forwarded me the draft legislation in a .pdf file but as US legislation is drafted in a particularly arcane way I did not grasp the full significance of the proposed changes until I read Toni's article. The bills apparently have the support of both political parties and were introduced by the chairman of an IP sub-committee in their lower house (why don't we have something like an IP committee in the House of Commons, Mountford?) and by the chair of the Judiciary Committee in the upper house.The bill will bring US patent law closer to ours in Europe in the following respects:

1. First to File rather than First to Invent
Unlike most countries US law gives the first person to invent priority rather than the first to file. I understand t…

General Kite Flying: Are Patent Agents Lawyers?

I was jolted from my reverie during the UK-IP Office's IP awareness seminar at the Thackray Museum in Leeds last week while listening to Bobby Smithson justifying the existence of patent agents (oops "attorneys") by reading out claim 1 of caveman Ug's patent specification for a revolutionary prehistoric invention known as "The Wheel". Ug had had a bash at drawing up his own patent application but decided to consult a patent attorney.

So far good lullaby until Bobby described a patent attorney as a sort of "specialist lawyer".

"What!" I retorted. "Yes, yes" said Vivian Irish who was sitting next to me. "We advise on the law."

"So do accountants, tax consultants, planning consultants and costs draftsmen" I replied. "If you why not them?"

Personally, I can't see why patent agents changed the name of their profession from "patent agent" to "patent attorney". It seems about as fo…