In the News

Need For Patent Protection

Need for Patent Protection

March 23, 2006

Letters to the Editor
The New York Times
229 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036

To the Editor:

Re: “Patently Ridiculous” (editorial, March 22):

While raising valid criticisms, you overstate the case against the patent system. In a “flatter” world, where America is valued more for its intellectual and technological capabilities than for its brute manufacturing capabilities, the need for patent protection is more acute than ever.

The increase in patents in some fields makes it more difficult to create products that do not infringe on the patent rights of others. In addition, we as a society are pressing our intellectual property rights with unprecedented vigor. These two influences have helped expose concerns over the effectiveness of the system.

Congress needs to address patent law reform to allow more meaningful application review and opposition and to fully finance the Patent and Trademark Office so that it can do its job more effectively. The Supreme Court’s reawakened interest in patent law is encouraging.

But this is not a system gone awry. Where to draw the line on patentability is a problem that courts and Congress have grappled with for more than 200 years, and there are no easy solutions.

The current system is in need of refinement, but we should remember that it helped create the economic engine that is the envy of the world.

Peter A. Sullivan
Chairman, Committee on Patents
New York City Bar Association

The New York Times

March 29, 2006