Sign In

Communications of the ACM

Legally speaking

Will the Supreme Court Nix Reviews of Bad Patents?

The Contemplation of Justice sculpture

The statue The Contemplation of Justice, created by the sculptor James Earle Fraser, flanks the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.

Credit: Kevin Harber / Flickr

"Bad" patents have been a plague to many in the software industry. Patents can be "bad" for numerous reasons. Although patents are supposed to be available only for new and inventive advances, sometimes it is difficult for examiners to locate the most relevant prior art. Not knowing about this art may cause them to approve patents that should not have been issued. Sometimes claims are too abstract or vague to be eligible for patents, or are deficient in other ways.

To address the bad patent problem, most developed countries have created administrative procedures so that third parties can challenge the validity of patents by asking a patent office tribunal to re-examine the patents. Post-grant review procedures are cost-effective ways to get rid of bad patents without having to go through full-dress, multiyear, very expensive litigation and appellate review. Patents that survive post-grant reviews are "stronger" for having gone through this extra scrutiny.


No entries found

Log in to Read the Full Article

Sign In

Sign in using your ACM Web Account username and password to access premium content if you are an ACM member, Communications subscriber or Digital Library subscriber.

Need Access?

Please select one of the options below for access to premium content and features.

Create a Web Account

If you are already an ACM member, Communications subscriber, or Digital Library subscriber, please set up a web account to access premium content on this site.

Join the ACM

Become a member to take full advantage of ACM's outstanding computing information resources, networking opportunities, and other benefits.

Subscribe to Communications of the ACM Magazine

Get full access to 50+ years of CACM content and receive the print version of the magazine monthly.

Purchase the Article

Non-members can purchase this article or a copy of the magazine in which it appears.
Sign In for Full Access
» Forgot Password? » Create an ACM Web Account