#154: No patent, no fee

The whole patent process is adminstratively a mess -I understand, for example, that in some fields it’s taking longer and longer to be granted a patent because all of the good Officers have now been poached by big companies to help them draft more watertight applications.

Worse than that though is that the system acts as a brake on invention, rather than a stimulant.  Even governments are now starting to recognise that patenting protects corporations against citizens (See eg this story).


Today’s invention is a contingent payment scheme in which patent attorneys can draft and submit claims in return for a share of the IP. Patent agents are quite used to litigating cases on a no-win-no fee basis in certain jurisdictions but I’m proposing that they sign up for a share of the real action. They get to take some risk, on projects they select, in return for potentially huge rewards. No more handouts of Monopoly money for just shuffling papers.

This would certainly separate sheep from goats in terms of the patent agents who understand technology: -they would be the ones to whom inventors would naturally gravitate. There would also be fewer micro-incremental or ‘spoiling’ applications and many more patents at least partly in the hands of genuinely innovative, Fred-in-a-shed inventors.

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