No one should be surprised that some patents are weak, since there are between 600,000 and 650,000 new patent applications each year and only 8,100 patent examiners to examine them. Examiners are obliged to grant a patent unless they find a reason not to do so. With an average of just 19 hours to review each patent application, it’s inevitable that some patents that shouldn’t be granted – patents that are vague, too broad, or covering something that is already patented – will. The USPTO issues approximately 300,000 patents each year. Even if a small percentage is “bad”, a small percentage of 300,000 patents per year is still a large number.
One of the best ways to stop malicious prosecutions is to improve the quality of patents before they are granted by the USPTO. In a recent US Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Troy R. Lester, chief intellectual property advisor to Acushnet, which manufactures Titleist and FootJoy golf products, testified to the need for more resources and “ additional eye sets ”at key points in the patent. application and review process. The quality of patents could also be improved under Section 112 of the Patent Act by applying the same standard used by the patent office to examine the validity of patents that have already been granted to patent applications. . Why not prevent the issuance of bad patents in the first place?
Additionally, the inter partes review is a legal tool introduced by the AIA that manufacturers and other companies can use at the USPTO to challenge the validity of questionable patents used against them. It’s more efficient and less expensive than a trial in federal court, saving significant money and resources that can be invested in American jobs.