Archives for July 2013

The Relationship Between Patents and Innovation

The relationship between patents and innovation has recently been subjected to scrutiny; experts wonder if patents are either contributing to or restricting innovation, and how the level of patent strength can be adjusted to produce a desired effect.Innovation Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

A recent Forbes article explains the significance Tabarrok Curve, which graphs the correlation between innovation and patent strength. According to the graph, the two factors have a positive correlation, until the graph reaches its maximum and from there the correlation turns negative. According to Alex Tabarrok, the creator of the curve and author of Launching the Innovation Renaissance, we are currently passed the maximum of the curve, and with less patent strength, there would be more innovation.

And yet while Tabarrok seems critical of the current patent situation, Tim Worstall, the author of the Forbes article, explains why patents also fuel innovation. According to Worstall, patents that are strongly backed provide monetary incentives for entrepreneurs and researches to make new discoveries and make new inventions, and thus a balancing act is required for the optimal amount of innovation:

“Yet we also recognize that if we provide protection that is too strong then we will be reducing the amount of innovation and invention. Too strong a protection for the initial invention will prevent that ongoing innovation around it. Which is where our balancing act comes in. We want to have patent protection that is strong enough to encourage more invention but not one that is strong enough to deter further invention or innovation.”

So what the Tabarrok curve means is that even though some experts are frustrated with the current patent situation and think that it costs too much money, patents will still hold their value because soon there will be newfound demand for patents. At this point, patents will increase in value because they will be fueling innovation, not hindering it.

Understanding the relationship between patents and innovation requires perspective, and though the patent system is currently under scrutiny, patents are no less important and will remain necessary to promote innovation.

If you’re interested in obtaining a patent, or would like more information about the relationship between innovation and patents, contact us.

USPTO Press Release Announces Patents Now Accessible to the Blind

The USPTO has provided many with the satisfaction of patenting their inventions. By attaining sole ownership to your invention, you claim what is rightfully yours. Unfortunately the process to apply for a patent can be incredibly difficult. It is especially complicated for those with disabilities such as blindness. One of the latest USPTO news related articles, a press release given by the director of the USPTO, covers a historic international agreement that will make patenting and attaining copyrighted materials available to the blind.

On June 27th, a conference in Morocco resolved to adopt an international treaty concerning the availability of copyrighted materials to visually impaired people. USPTO officials attended the meeting and the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or otherwise Print Disabled was created. The agreement targets the format of many books that make it difficult for those with print disabilities to access. It is a historic event that those who have impaired vision will finally be able to have access to published works.

This right to claim what was rightfully your creation is regulated in the US by the USPTO. The director of the USPTO, Teresa Stanek Rea, stresses that the access of published works to the visually disabled is of high priority for the US. However, not only will the US be granting the blind this right, but the 150 countries who signed the treaty as well. It is truly an international effort to reduce the difficulty that the visually impaired face when trying to access copyrighted materials.

While there has been a significant advance to make the patenting system easier for all Americans, the process still is very complex. Applying for a patent through the USPTO can be quite intimidating at first. There are many requirements that need to be met. It is important to invest in a company that will protect your idea. By doing so you can enhance the marketability of your product and rest assured that your patent application meets the requirements of the USPTO.

If you are interested in finding an attorney to help you with the patent process, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to direct you to an attorney to patent your idea.