Public Knowledge’s New Patent Reform Project

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Public Knowledge wants your input on how to improve the patent system.


I’m excited to announce Public Knowledge’s new Patent Reform Project. The Patent Reform Project will connect with both small and large stakeholders to develop policies that advance innovation and technology. To that end, we want to know what you think of the patent system: what works and what doesn’t work, and how it can be improved.

Why Are Patents Important?

Just a few decades ago, patents were hardly on the mind of the average person. Patents were the province of large manufacturers and businesses, and patent disputes were called the “sport of kings”—expensive and remote, with little direct effect on the ordinary consumer.

Today, though, that has all changed. The smartphone in your pocket alone potentially infringes thousands of patents. Coffee shops are being threatened with patent lawsuits merely for offering WiFi. More broadly, the enormous cost of the patent system—$29 billion a year, by one estimate—is slowing innovation down and keeping the latest, most advanced technologies out of the hands of consumers.

Public Knowledge’s mission is to “promote a creative and connected future.” When patents get in the way of new and innovative technologies, consumers are denied that bright future, and we step in.

How Can You Help?

The Patent Reform Project is new, so we are putting together our agenda for tackling the major issues in the patent system. As part of this process, we want your input.

Are you a company, small or large, that has an opinion on the patent system? Have you been threatened by a patent troll? Have you used a patent to defend your business from a competitor copying your technology? Are you an entrepreneur for whom patents have influenced your choice to start—or not start—a new business? Are you a technology consumer who has gained access, or been denied access, to new technology because of patents?

If so, then we want to talk with you. Our goal is collect stories from as broad a cross-section of the innovation economy as possible, from the top-level major technology providers to the individual smartphone users. This comprehensive understanding of the interests of all stakeholders will allow us to craft patent policy recommendations that benefit everyone and encourage innovation, building the creative and connected future we strive to achieve.

To contact us, you can use this form, or send an email to patentreform@publicknowledge.org.

Image credit: U.S. Pat. No. 263,011, Electric Lamp, by A. Bernstein, issued August 22, 1882.

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