Patent infringement litigation is the sport of kings. For everyone else, especially individual inventors and smaller businesses, the most motivated cost control efforts begin to pale in the face of the financial burden of the continuing fight. What to do?
Maybe this is what you should do. The PTO followed the lead of the Copyright Office and today put the idea of a small claims court back on the table after a 22 year hiatus. Read this in the Federal Register: ttps://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2012/12/18/2012-30483/request-for-comments-on-a-patent-small-claims-proceeding-in-the-united-states
Big sophisticated businesses will be interested in the idea as an antidote for non-practicing entity lawsuits. Able counsel from both sides will probably make their voices heard. But what about the “small” in a patent small claims court?
The greatest challenge is hearing the voices of rights owners with the greatest need. They often must invest more than they can afford to get good quality patent prosecution. The prospect of enforcing their patent or defending their work is something they don’t want to think about until there’s no choice. They are not likely to hear about the PTO’s inquiry and least likely to have money to spend to explain their needs and offer creative solutions.
The message of this little post is simple: if you know someone who can benefit from a simpler, faster, cheaper way to enforce a patent or defend against one, encourage them to speak up. Embarrassed to submit a statement without help? Maybe there’s an organization that can get interested. Or a thoughtful member of congress [don’t be cynical] to contact. It will take some time but might cost nothing.