《经济学人》:知识产权,悬而未决的专利
日期:2011-09-20 12:13

(单词翻译:单击)

Intellectual property知识产权

Many patents, still pending
悬而未决的专利

Congress tweaks, but does not overhaul, America’s patent system
国会将对美国专利制度进行小幅修改

Sep 10th 2011 | NEW YORK | from the print edition

AFTER years of dithering, America is set for patent reform. On September 6th a bill proposing to change the system passed its highest procedural hurdle in the Senate. With Barack Obama supportive, this means the America Invents Act could soon be signed into law.

徘徊犹豫了多年,美国终于着手专利改革。9月6号,整改议案过了最艰难的一关——参议院。得到总统巴拉克•奥巴马的支持,美国发明法规将很快能正式写入法律。

Instead of the “first to invent” principle, which America currently uses, patents will be awarded to inventors who are the “first to file”. This is similar to the system most other countries use. The aim is to avoid long and difficult legal arguments over who was the first to come up with an idea.

美国专利目前遵循“第一发明”原则,将改为授予第一个申请注册的人。目前大部分国家都实行这种规定,这样可避免对第一发明人的确定争论不休,难以确定。

As in most cases of patent law it is not going to be that simple. One criticism is that being first-to-file gives big and sophisticated organisations, highly experienced at the difficult job of filing for patents, an advantage over smaller outfits that may be technically brilliant but not legally savvy. Another problem is that first-to-file may make companies rush to put in for a patent before their invention is truly ready.

如专利法中涉及的案例很多都不能简单的界定。有一种批评意见是,申请注册专利会造成庞大复杂的机构,特别是申请过程更是项困难的工作,小型机构的优点在于技术上的优越而不只是合法的专业知识。另一个问题是专利的申请可能促使一些公司在一些发明尚未成型时就急于将其注册。

Moreover, the law does little to address the more basic problem of a patent system that has grown in expense for all kinds of companies that want to protect their ideas. The number of disputed cases going to trial, average awards and legal costs have all ballooned. To many, the system looks like a lottery.

另外,法律没有解决专利体系存在一个更重要的问题:各类公司为保护自己的点子付出高昂的支出。许多有争议的申请案例被搬上了法庭,最后或平分奖金或取得合法补偿,诸如此类的事件不断发生。对许多人来说,这种制度更像是博彩活动。

Those who think that patents are granted too easily complain that the bill will still allow too many suits, especially those by “non-practising entities”, which are also known derisively as “patent trolls”. These buy up patents and then license them or sue for infringement, rather than using the patents themselves. The too-many-patents crowd wanted to do away, in particular, with “business-method” patents, which claim to have invented a new way of doing business. Instead, the bill did this only for the financial industry, after strenuous lobbying by Wall Street. And many advocated making it harder to get any kind of patent at all.

有些人认为专利申请是件易事的人称,此法案仍会造成大量诉讼纠纷,特别是那些毫无经验的企业,它们被戏称为“专利的钓饵”。它们购买专利不是为了自己使用,转而注册成为自己所有,或用于高发侵权行为。拥有很多专利的人尤其希望去掉“商业用途”的专利,他们表示已经发明了一种新的经营方式。然而,经过华尔街艰难的游说,议案只是在金融业去除了“商业用途”专利申请。另外,许多人支持提高所有专利申请的难度。

The bill does make some changes that could be positive. It creates several new procedures to deter or defeat bad patents. One would let an alleged infringer of a patent challenge its validity at the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), rather than going to court. This would, in theory, be cheaper and faster. But it could still be followed by a lawsuit.

法案并没有做出一些积极地变动,只新增加了几条打击有害专利的程序。第一,被指控侵权者不必被送至法庭,可到专利商标局(PTO)说明其非法性。原则上说这样做即省钱又快速,而且之后仍可对其侵权行为进行控诉。

Second, the bill expands the right of third parties to join the fray at the PTO by showing “prior art”—meaning the invention is already known about and so a patent should not be granted. This might save time and money for firms which would be affected by a dodgy patent, allowing them to argue things out at an early stage rather than later on in a costly courtroom.

第二,法案体现“优先权之道”——即申请专利的发明之前已有人知道则不能通过。这样就扩大了在PTO参与纠纷的第三方权利。法案使双方在初期就公开辩论,防止企业在遇到一些狡猾的专利申请者时,浪费过多时间和金钱在法庭上。

One of the biggest criticisms of the bill concerns the PTO’s funding, which some think should be increased so that the office can hire and keep the best examiners and so reduce a huge backlog of applications. Instead, Congress chose to multiply the alternative dispute-resolution procedures at the PTO, giving the office more work to do without a guarantee of more money. The result is a muddle as well as a missed opportunity.

对此法案一个最大的异议是有关PTO的成立,有些人认为应多建几所PTO,这样就能让雇佣最好的审查官,减少申请案例的大量积压。但是,国会选择在PTO大量增加可供选择的争论解决程序,加大了PTO工作量的同时,有没有给予更多资金保障,致使局面混乱,失去最佳调节机会。

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重点单词
  • affectedadj. 受影响的,受感动的,受疾病侵袭的 adj. 做
  • reformv. 改革,改造,革新 n. 改革,改良
  • particularadj. 特殊的,特别的,特定的,挑剔的 n. 个别项目
  • experiencedadj. 有经验的
  • complainvi. 抱怨,悲叹,控诉
  • lotteryn. 彩票
  • costlyadj. 昂贵的,代价高的
  • legaladj. 法律的,合法的,法定的
  • patentn. 专利,特许 adj. 专利的,显著的 vt. 批准
  • defeatn. 败北,挫败 vt. 战胜,击败