Inventors Torch Patents Outside PTO, Decry Review Process
About a dozen inventors in town for a conference set their patents aflame in front of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office headquarters Aug. 11 to protest what they called an unfair administrative system for invalidating patents.
“Patents are junk in the U.S. and that’s why I’m burning my patents,” Paul Morinville, an inventor of software applications and founder of US Inventor, an advocacy group for independent inventors’ intellectual property rights, said as he set his patent ablaze with a cigarette lighter.
The PTO is “issuing patents on one side of the office and the other side is changing their mind,” Josh Malone, who invented Bunch O Balloons, a product that fills numerous water balloons at once, told Bloomberg BNA before the protest. “They should get it right, stick with their decision and let the courts sort it out.”
One of Malone’s patents was invalidated in January at the PTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board, and another is under review. The PTAB should only take up petitions that challenge “egregious” patents, Malone said, but it institutes examinations in 70 percent of patent-challenge petitions.