The so-called “smartphone wars” involving patent lawsuits are just part of the “natural ebb and flow of technology development” and not a fundamental problem with patents or the patents system, the director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office told a congressional committee today.
David Kappos, testifying before a House Judiciary Committee, compared the global battle over the technology inside smartphones to the fights about James Watt’s steam engines and sewing machines.
“We’re seeing the same series of events play out,” Kappos said as part of a hearing on the implementation of the Leahy Smith America Invents Act, the broad reforms of the patent system signed into law eight months ago.
First comes the technology that is transformative, and then come innovators who make incremental improvements to the technology, Kappos said. Finally, the original innovators seek to enforce those positions.
“And you have a dust up like we’re having right now,” Kappos said. “These things happen; they sort themselves out over time.”
Kappos also told legislators that it now takes about 16 months for new patent applications to reach a final resolution, down from the previous average of 34 months.