IP Watchdog: Patent Persecution, by Louis Carbonneau
This post originally appeared in IP Watchdog on July 2, 2015.
“Patent prosecution” describes the interaction between applicants and their representatives, and a patent office with regard to a patent, or an application for a patent. (source: Wikipedia). It is a well-known term of art commonly used in the IP community.
“Patent persecution” on the other hand, describes the activities among various actors currently dismantling the US patent system, block by block. It is a recent phenomenon and seems to know no boundaries. (source: read the news!)
It sure looks these days like we’ve gone all the way from patent “pro” to “per- secution” …
I have written a few times lately about how the recent combination of court cases, post grant review procedures (mostly IPR) and legislative action have made securing, licensing and enforcing patents rights much more difficult. What started a few years ago as a push to curb allegedly abusive patent litigation by a few bad actors (and get rid of a few patent trolls along the way) has snowballed over time into a real frontal attack on all patent owners, with the the small American inventor as collateral damage. Making life more difficult for more small inventors would seem to be the last thing we want to do, as the number of patent filings by individual inventors since 2000 (relative to Corporate Owners and Other Organizations) has already plummeted from 14% to 6% (source: USPTO).