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Letters: Reworking patent laws

June 12, 2013

Re "Trying to clear out the 'patent trolls,'" Column, June 9

The way federal law is carried out now, patents may be acquired for any one of three purposes:

- To manufacture and market the invention.

- To collect money from anyone else using the invention.

- To keep the invention off the market.

The last can happen when the invention threatens some entity's place in the market. The patent might be acquired at an offer-he-can't-refuse price, and then promptly put in the deep freeze. If anyone else tries to manufacture the patented product, he is sued to keep him from selling it to the public.

The second motivation can be almost as bad, when the acquirer makes no attempt to produce but holds the patent hostage, extracting a ransom from any would-be seller.

There might be a need for a use-it-or-lose-it provision in patent law, a requirement that there must be a good-faith effort to produce in order to maintain patent rights.

Bill Seckler



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