With the ever-increasing number of technology patent lawsuits heading into this year, the Patent Reform Act of 2007 sounded like an awful good idea: Stop the lawsuits and the related expense, labor and stress, and focus more energy back on innovation. When the bill was introduced in Congress earlier this year, I figured it provided a sense of relief most especially to the engineers who are doing all the hard work on patented technologies, and whose brains are the real intellectual property worth protecting.
But, a lot of engineers don't feel that way. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, which has huge representation in telecom, has come out against the bill, which now looks unlikely to pass anyway. They are concerned that it will inhibit innovation, and actually do more to protect the largest companies from lawsuits than it will do to protect the smaller companies and individual innovators from protecting--via the courts, if need be--their own rights.
Some people are asking if patent reform is dead. It shouldn't be. This legislation is worth another look, and next time around, legislators need to keep in mind that to protect innovation, you still need to encourage the innovators that the future is wide open.
FierceTelecom will not publish on Monday--Labor Day to those of use in the U.S. We will resume our regular publishing schedule on Tuesday, Sept. 4, Have a great weekend! - Dan