Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-2011

Publication Citation

111 Columbia Law Review 207 (2011)

Abstract

In this Article, we propose a way to improve the workings of the patent system. Unlike most extant reform proposals that focus on the USPTO and the Federal Circuit and the procedures they employ, our proposal is conceptual in nature. We introduce two new intellectual property forms—“quasi-patents” and “semi-patents.” Quasi-patents, as we define them, would avail only against direct business competitors of the inventor, but not against anyone else. Semi-patents would have the same scope as traditional patents, but their grant would be conditioned on an applicant’s consent to publish all research information pertaining to the protected invention. These two new forms would complement, and not replace, traditional patents. Together, quasi-patents and semi-patents could mitigate the costs of traditional patents on subsequent inventors and thus open the path for more innovation.