Mark Cuban Agrees: Independent Invention Is A Sign Of Obviousness; And Should Kill Patents
from the excellent dept
For years, we’ve talked about the idea of an independent inventor defense for those accused of patent infringement — which, contrary to the claims of some patent attorneys, is totally feasible — and that idea has received some traction. However, we’ve also argued that things should go even further, and that if there is evidence of multiple independent inventions of the same concepts that it is a sign of obviousness, and all such patents should be rejected — since patents are not allowed on inventions that are considered “obvious” to those who are “skilled in the art.” Unfortunately, we’ve seen less support for that specific idea — but perhaps that’s changing.
Mark Cuban recently gave an interview to TechCrunch in which he discusses his rationale for giving EFF $250,000 to create the “Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents.” When asked about how he would fix the patent system, he names a few popular ideas, like getting rid of software patents, requiring that the invention be put into practice, but he also (repeatedly) talks up how independent invention should be a sign of obviousness. A few snippets:
I would also like to see a “cold room” exception. If you can show you invented the idea using completely independent thought, you don’t violate the patent and the patent is invalidated.
Remember back in the 80s when AMD/Intel and others would clone each other and it was permissible because they came up with the features and functions completely independently? The same should apply to patents. If you didn’t copy an idea, you came up with it on your own, then the idea should not have been patented in the first place. If multiple people come up with the same idea independently, that is the definition of obvious.
You should be given the right to your idea if you come up with it independently and any patents in place for that idea should be invalidated.
Independently derived ideas that are turned into products and can prove they are independently derived (Again, if multiple people come up with the same idea independent of each other, that should be as definite as it is obvious, and obvious cannot be patented), then it can not be patented, and all patents for those ideas are declared invalid.
It’s great to see that this idea may finally be getting some traction, as it could have a big impact on fixing many of the most significant problems with today’s patent system.