A coalition of consumer advocacy and public interest groups recently filed an amicus brief at the CAFC, arguing that the PTO's "continuation rule changes" would curtail abusive behavior by patent applicants and improve patent quality.
The brief continues the same themes raised in earlier amicus briefs at the district court, that endless continuations harm the public good and hinder innovation. While being light on substantive legal analysis, the brief manages to poke some thumbs into the eyes of those seeking to block the continuation rules.
The groups joining in filing the Public Interest Amici brief are: The Public Patent Foundation (“PUBPAT”), AARP, Computer & Communications Industry Association (“CCIA”), Consumer Watchdog (Formerly the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights), Essential Action, Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (“I-MAK”), Prescription Access Litigation (“PAL”), Public Knowledge (“PK”), Research on Innovation (“ROI”), and Software Freedom Law Center (“SFLC”).
These excuses [for opposing the rules] lack any technological or economic merit, because any claims desired and deserved by a patent applicant can and should be included in the original application, an amendment to it, or any of the continuation applications allowed under the Final Rules as a matter of right without justification. The failure to do so would be caused by the patent applicant's own delay in recognizing what it is they want to claim, and not by the USPTO or its Final Rules.
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[T]here have been several patents that were used to preclude competition in markets worth billions of dollars that were later proven to be undeserved.
One industry where this phenomenon repeatedly occurs is the pharmaceutical
industry . . . consumers of pharmaceuticals are especially prone to the negative effects of poor patent quality, as markets with monopolies maintained by undeserved patents force consumers to spend much more on drugs than they would if the market was subject to competition unrestrained by invalid patents.
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[A]rguments regarding the public interest made by patent holders and patent attorneys should be carefully scrutinized, because these groups are actually, in fact, the special interests that benefit from the patent system and what benefits them personally may not actually benefit the public interest.
Download the brief in its entirety here, courtesy of PubPat.