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‘Occupy’ Protests Head to Capitol Hill: U.S. Patent Office Should Also Be Target, Author Says

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The Occupy movement heads to the streets of D.C. this week for three days of protest to demand Congress do a better job representing the majority of Americans, rather than the richest 1%.

Tuesday's day of demonstration has been dubbed "Take Back the People's House" and is expected to begin with a march towards the Capitol after which protestors will spread out across the hill to try to meet with elected officials at their offices. Wednesday is "Make Wall Street Pay" day and will involve demonstrations on K Street — home to the country's biggest lobbying firms — to protest against the revolving door between Congress and corporate America. And finally on Thursday — "Demand Justice for the 99%" day — demonstrators will hold speak outs across the hill and a prayer vigil in honor of those who have lost their jobs.

After nearly three months, this still leaderless movement remains without a main mission. Darin Gibby, patent attorney and author of Why Has America Stopped Inventing?, has a suggestion and a specific way to target change.

Gibby says the Occupy movement should focus on job creation and spurring innovation at a time when nearly 15 million people are out of work. In his view, the best way to do that is to direct the protests at the U.S. Patent Office.

"One of the reasons historically why America has succeeded is that they have done it through innovation," he says. "But today there is no way for the average American to invent and to be able to capitalize on what they invent" because the patent process has not only become bogged down, but it has become too expensive for individuals to afford.

Evidence of this is the fact that innovation in this country today is half of what it was over 150 years ago, says Gibby. In the accompany interview, he explains to The Daily Ticker's Aaron Task that many of his perspective clients often give up patenting an idea after finding out it will cost them roughly $30,000 to do so and that the process could take up to five years. Plus, should a copycat infringe upon that idea, it could take $2-5 million to fight the case in court.

Gibby says the best way to promote innovation and create jobs is to revert to the original patent laws of 1836 when inventors needed to show a working prototype of their idea and patent examiners could not declare ideas "obvious." The 'obviousness requirement' allows examiners today to reject a patent claim for being built off of bits and pieces of other patents. But the problem with this is the fact that many ideas are built off of old ideas.

His four other fixes for the patent system include:

Cutting patent terms from 14 years to 10 years.

Cutting examination time to under 6 months to break the current 5-year backlog.

Eliminate the doctrine of equivalents, which makes it difficult for competitors to enter a market because a previous patent may consider the idea or its tweaks an "equivalent" or similar.

Limit continuations to less than 20 years so patent holders cannot keep multiple patenting applications open, which clogging up the system.