Shock news: patent agents like patents

I recently read yet another advert-dressed-up-as-a-letter by a patent attorney in the IET’s E&T magazine.

I’m a member of the IET, so it galls me that
a) they aren’t banging the drum in support of restricted access to the title Engineer.

b) they continue to publish articles talking about the need to ‘recruit’ over two million new engineers by 2017. No chance, at current fee rates…and they mostly mean technicians anyway.

c) the magazine, and the profession, uncritically accept that patents offer a way for inventors to make money from ideas.

Anyway, here is my ranting response:

Patently obvious

Fraser Brown writes to defend ‘our’ patents system. It is not surprising that, as a patent attorney, he regards it as both fair and fit for purpose. Those of us who have ideas know better. Only established companies can even begin to consider paying the costs associated with hiring members of Mr Brown’s profession. Lone inventors are almost completely excluded from the benefits he mentions.

It’s nonsense to suggest that it’s even possible for the UK’s most inventive people to ‘take on the big boys’ via patents. Leaving aside drafting costs, we simply can’t afford policing or litigation. In practice, and in the absence of rich friends, the only way is to form an alliance with a corporate and tolerate the comparatively poor deals that that entails (if you can even find one that will listen). Otherwise, UK inventors have to use their creativity to skirt around existing patents or spot opportunities for quick sales of uncontended product ideas.

Patrick Andrews CEng

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