Much Ado About Injunctions

It’s become an article of faith among those complaining that patent reform has gone too far that the 2006 eBay case must be overturned—but that assertion doesn't appear to be backed up by the facts.

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Granted In 19 Hours

Patent examiners have an extremely hard job.  They’re given a patent application—which could be anywhere from a page long up to hundreds of pages, with patent claims ranging from a…

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Protecting Inventors—Independent Invention As A Defense

Alice has an idea.  Independently, Bob has the same idea.  Neither one has ever talked to the other.  Alice develops her idea and on January 1, files for a patent on it.  Bob develops his idea and files for a patent one day later, on January 2.  While their patents are being examined, both develop a product that incorporates the patented idea and both commercialize their product.

Alice, as the first inventor to file, receives the patent.  And now Bob can’t sell his product without infringing Alice’s patent—even though he invented his idea without any knowledge of Alice’s work, and even though he came up with the idea at essentially the same time, and even though he might have been selling his product up until the day Alice’s patent granted without any legal issue.  Bob’s an inventor who can’t use his own invention.

That’s how U.S. patent law currently works.  It doesn’t matter if you came up with it without any help from anyone else—if there’s a patent, even if you had no idea, you’re liable for infringement.

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Much Ado About Injunctions

It’s become an article of faith among those complaining that patent reform has gone too far that the 2006 eBay case must be overturned—so much so that Sen. Coons has included it in both editions of his STRONGER Patents Act (one of a multitude of reasons that bill is bad policy.) But, as with so…

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