Sunday, June 11, 2017

The problem with patents; Winnipeg Free Pres, June 10, 2017

Martin Cash, Winnipeg Free Press; The problem with patents

"The discovery that another manufacturer was using the "idle mode" feature was worrisome, but Tessier figured it would be dealt with because he had a patent with the understanding that he had a 20-year monopoly on that particular technology.

He found out fairly quickly was on his own and all the "monopoly" really meant was that he had the right to spend around $1 million in legal fees to compel others to acknowledge his market rights.

"Over the last year or so, I’ve learned an awful lot about patent protection," Tessier said. "Now I have to ask, why bother with a patent in the first place?"

His concerns are not just the fevered thoughts of a harried entrepreneur whose hard-won market share is being encroached on unfairly by a competitor with much greater resources and market heft.

It is, in fact, a long-standing gap in the dynamics of patent protection regulations that’s been well-known to patent professionals for some time.

Adrian Battison, a veteran patent agent with Ade & Company of Winnipeg, said, "It is a problem I have been worrying about for a long time. There is no question the enforcement of patents is a significant problem. You can obtain a Canadian patent for between $5,000 and $10,000 but to litigate it can cost $500,000 to $1 million. The average person with no access to sums of money simply can’t manage that kind of situation.""

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