Yesterday Nilay Patel posted a massive overview of the U.S. Patent system. I skimmed most of it once I got half way through — the tone didn’t sit well with me. I am linking to Marco Arment’s comments on the post as this statement really got me thinking:

Spoken like a true lawyer: yes, the courts have given lawyers a lot of tools with which to defend patent lawsuits, but only those that actually reach the point of being heard in courts.

You should read all of Marco’s comments as I 100% agree with him.

Here’s another thought bouncing around my head: If we changed it so that patent disputes were decided through the USPTO instead of between lawyers — and sometimes courts — I wonder how much less that would cost everyone.

That is: is what is being patented the problem? Or are the courts the problem? Or are the over worked USPTO staff the problem? Or are the laws the problem? Or are lawyers the problem?

Don’t get me wrong, I like lawyers and think they serve a valuable purpose, but how many less patent disputes would we have if instead of a room full of lawyers it was a room full of USPTO staff and inventors — presumably people with direct knowledge of the patent and technologies and inventions at hand.1

  1. Again this is not a solution, just a thought. Also this is not what Marco was saying, just something that he prompted me to think about, personally.