By Ramsey Cox
A group of Democratic senators demanded that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) improve the quality of patents approved in order to avoid costly legal battles later.
Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) sent a letter Wednesday to the U.S. Department of Commerce to more thoroughly examine patent applications. They said this would reduce abuses and litigation from “patent trolls.”
The senators made several recommendations to the USPTO, such as increasing public access to patents online and strengthening examiner guidelines and documentation practices.
Merkley said if the USPTO can reduce ambiguity and reject low quality patents, fewer patent trolls could take advantage of weaknesses in the quality of patents to “harass consumers and businesses.”