SHIFT IN PATENT LAWS INCREASES LITIGATION
According to an article written by Christopher Hayes and quoted in the Progress Report, a shift in patent laws over the past ten years has resulted in increased “methods and system” patents, which have opened the flood gates on the amounts of patent claims, and given greater control to big business over innovative ideas.
The article cites the example of Rocco Monteleone, who opened the cereal cafe Bowls, in Gainesville, Florida, near the University of Florida. Monteleone received a cease & desist letter from the attorney for Cereality, a cereal cafe which originated in Arizona State University, saying that he was in violation of Cereality’s “methods and system” of selling cereal.
Although the United States Patent & Trademark Office, under mounting criticism of this trend, has increased the level of scrutiny applied to business method patents, it has also expanded the domain of patentable subject matter, even going so far as to rule that technological components are not required in order for a business method to be patented. This could further exacerbate problems for the American small business entrepeneur, as the larger corporations will own the bulk of ideas that are the driving force in American economics.
I recommend you seeking the expertise of a patent lawyer if you have any questions regarding the filing of a patent with the United States Patent & Trademark Office, in order to make the proper decisions in this increasing complicated arena of intellectual property law.