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Media Advisory

Media Advisory: Boalt Hall Patent Law Conference
 

13 April 2004

ATTENTION: News Desks

Contact: Erin Campbell
(510) 643- 8010


WHAT
"Ideas Into Action: Implementing Reform of the Patent System," a two-day conference at which federal government officials, industry leaders, lawyers, scholars and policy makers will address how patent reform should be implemented.

The conference, open to the media and registered guests only, is hosted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology at UC Berkeley's School of Law (Boalt Hall).

Panel discussions will center on an FTC proposal that seeks to prevent the approval of unnecessary patents that slow competition and innovation and, consequently, raise consumer costs. A related NAS proposal, to be released the week of April 19, will also be discussed at the conference.

WHEN
The conference runs Thursday-Friday, April 15-16.

* Press availability session: April 15, 12-1 p.m., with Federal Trade Commissioner Mozelle Thompson; Mark Myers, co-chair of the NAS Science, Technology and Economic Policy Board and Boalt Hall Dean-designate Christoper Edley

* Press tutorial on patent reform: April 15, 1:30-3 p.m.

* Panel discussions: April 16, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

WHERE
Bancroft Hotel, 2680 Bancroft Way, Berkeley

WHO
In addition to Thompson, Myers and Edley, participants will include Steve Kunin of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte. Industry participants include representatives from CISCO, Chiron, eBay, Eli Lilly, Genentech, Google, Inflexion Point Strategy, Intel and Microsoft.

For more on the conference go to: http://www.law.berkeley.edu/institutes/bclt/patentreform/index2.html.

DETAILS
To obtain a patent, an invention must be novel, non-obvious and useful. Those granted applications have the right to exclude others from making, using or selling the invention for 20 years from the filing date of the patent application.

Patent applications have doubled in the last 12 years and are increasing at a rate of about 10 percent each year, according to the FTC. Approximately 1,000 patent applications are filed each day.

The FTC's report has sparked heated debate among judges, attorneys and the U.S. Congress. The report recommends the enactment of more stringent approval standards by the U.S. Patent Office. It proposes a new administrative procedure in which third parties could challenge the validity of a patent before an administrative patent judge-rather than engaging in costly and lengthy litigation in federal court. And, it proposes that legislation be enacted to lower the standards by which courts consider whether a patent challenge is justified. The standard would drop from "clear and convincing evidence" to a "preponderance of evidence" or more likely than not.