Have you ever used a ‘slide to unlock’ feature on your I-phone or used 4G network to receive data ? Apple has a patent for ‘slide to unlock’ feature and Samsung has patent for receiving data over 4G network. Both the companies has been fighting PATENT WAR with each other for so long. Similarly in the case of ‘Basmati rice’ a US company Ricetec faced a global outrage after the grant of patent for basmati rice in their name. Below is the excerpt of wikepedia on this case
In September 1997 Texas, USA company RiceTec was granted U.S. Patent No. 5,663,484 on “basmati rice lines and grains.” The patent secures lines of basmati and basmati-like rice and ways of analyzing that rice. RiceTec, owned by Prince Hans-Adam of Liechtenstein, faced international outrage over allegations of biopiracy. It had also caused a brief diplomatic crisis between India and United States with India threatening to take the matter to WTO as a violation of TRIPS which could have resulted in a major embarrassment for the United States. Both voluntarily and due to review decisions by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, RiceTec lost or withdrew most of the claims of the patent, including, most importantly, the right to call their rice lines “basmati.”A more limited varietal patent was granted to RiceTec in 2001 on claims dealing with three strains of the rice developed by the company.
There has been numerous such cases in past where either the companies are facing patent litigation or have claimed and filed suites on its competition. Seeing and observing the whole litigation filing process and the money spent by companies on such suites one question comes to mind, whether this was required?
Many individuals think that to avoid such types of incident there needs to be changes made in present patent act so that the companies can invest their money as well as its resources in innovation rather than these type of patent litigation cases. Taking alone the case of apple and samsung they have been on each others throats for more than 40 times. During the State of the Union address to Congress in January 2014, President Obama called for passage of a patent reform bill that would allow businesses to stay focused on innovation, not litigation. Today, in what was billed as part of the “Year of Action: Making Progress Through Executive Action,” the Obama Administration highlighted progress made on previously announced executive actions, and also announced three new actions to further respond to the President’s desire to increase patent quality.
I would like to get a response from the readers as to what are the reforms they think, is to made in present patent act which could improve the quality of patent and avoid patent litigation cases.