GPC's Vice President of Marketing, Alec Schibanoff, was quoted in an article on InsideCounsel.com that explores the link between patents and innovation - and how recently enacted patent reforms have changed the process of inventing and patenting. ("New patent laws change the course of innovation" Inside Counsel - September 16, 2013)
Article excerpt: Patents and intellectual property are hot topics in the news these days, and it seems like you can’t open the newspaper without reading about another lawsuit filed over patent or IP infringement. But, as these cases tear through the courtrooms, the question remains: “Do patents spur innovation?”
As Alec Schibanoff, vice president of marketing at the General Patent Corporation, puts it, patents are a foundational aspect of the American spirit of innovation:
A patent is published. It is a public document that anyone can access. Every time an invention is patented, the US federal government grants the inventor a limited monopoly (that's the patent) in exchange for publishing the patent and making the invention known to all. That enables the next generation of inventors to build on that invention. That is how Edison's light bulb became the basis for the vacuum tube that made possible the first generation of radios, then televisions, and then the earliest computers. And from those vacuum tubes came the transistor, and from the transistor the microprocessors of today. It is in large part the U.S. patent system that made America the global leader in innovation.
But recent changes to patent laws have changed the way that entrepreneurs handle their workflow. In the past, patents were awarded to the “first to invent” a technology, which meant that inventors traditionally published articles about the problem to be solved or the technology in development in order to help establish that “first-to-invent” status. Also, inventors would often wait to see if a technology was successful before patenting it.
This is no longer the case, however. In March, 2013, the patent office changed its policies so that it now awards patents on a first-to-file basis, which is common practice in many other nations.