Issue Date: April 26, 2004
NRC reports on U.S. patent system
Although a major overhaul is not required, measures should be taken to increase the flexibility, openness, and reliability of the U.S. patent system, concludes a report released on April 19 by the National Research Council of the National Academies. The report, titled "A Patent System for the 21st Century," makes seven recommendations to reach those goals, including providing additional resources for the Patent & Trademark Office (PTO), considering congressional legislation to create an "open review procedure" for issued patents, and encouraging harmonization with the European and Japanese patent systems by reconciling differences among the systems. For its part, PTO has already taken steps to address some of these needs by introducing the agency's 21st Century Strategic Plan (C&EN, Nov. 4, 2002, page 25). It welcomes the Academies' support for its plan "as an effective strategy to meet the mounting challenges associated with ensuring high-quality and timely patents in an increasingly competitive marketplace," the agency says in a statement.
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