The Patent Death Spiral [9:33 am]
One more argument against the business method patent — Legal Beat: A Wall Street Rush to Patent Profit-Making Methods
Goldman, viewed by many as a patent leader on Wall Street, has hundreds of patent applications in the pipeline and has received patent rights on a couple of dozen products and systems, according to its chief patent officer, John Squires. He joined Goldman in the new position in 2000 after being a patent lawyer with Allied Signal.
“I think there will be increased filings as the convergence of banking and technology is irreversible,’’ he said. “As people spend more and more building systems and deploying technology, they’re going to want to make sure they have the rights available to them.”
For now, all the big firms seem to be playing nicely with one another. Many lawyers involved in patenting systems and products on Wall Street label the patents as defensive in nature. They say Wall Street banks are trying to patent products or software systems in an effort to protect themselves from claims or litigation brought by individuals or small companies whose primary business is holding patents — those known to their detractors as patent trolls.
But some warn it is merely a matter of time before the patent activity turns from defensive to offensive. Wall Street firms will eventually look for ways to license the technologies or products they have patented, hoping to earn a high-margin revenue stream, or they will begin to litigate against each other, lawyers say.
See S. 3818 and H. R. 2795. Although they seem to want to tighten the scrutiny that patents receive, I don’t recall that there’s much in there on eliminating business method patents; or software, for that matter. Just an effort to increase consideration of previous art and non-obviousness, as I recall.