Patent Disclosure

There are three good ways to impress professors.  First, ask them for advice — we live for that.  Second, tell them that you really liked an article they wrote — that goes a long way.  Third, write a really good article about a topic that they were thinking about — they’ll think you’re very wise.

The last point applies to Jeanne Fromer’s article on “Patent Disclosure” in 94 Iowa. L. Rev. 539 (2009). Fromer emphasizes the importance of disclosure to innovation and then points out that the current patent system does a poor job in that respect.  This is so because patents are not designed to convey technical information clearly, are not indexed in a way that makes them easy to search, and cannot be easily challenged if they fail to disclose adequately.  Equally, if not more important, is the fact that the treble-damages remedy for willful infringement discourages folks from reading patents in the first place. Fromer offers suggestions for improvements in all of these areas, and I recommend that you read the piece if you find the subject matter of interest.

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