January 1, 2007 (Vol. 27, No. 1)


Strong Points: Interesting philosophy
Weak Points: Not overly informative

Taking the position that “wrongly issued patents and unsound patent policy harm the public,” PUBPAT from the Public Patent Foundation claims to represent the public’s interests in the patent system. Goodness knows that someone needs to do it. The organization has had some notable successes, including revocation of a patent that would have affected use of JPEG images on computers and revocation of a patent to Pfizer for the drug lipitor. The not-for-profit group aims to recapture ideas back to the public domain that were removed from the same by mis-issued patents. Given the amount of money behind many of the software and pharmaceutical patents, this is no small order. The group’s major victories have come as a result of showing the existence of prior art, and this too is no small task in at least some cases. An interesting group with an interesting focus, PUBPAT probably has a lot of friends as well as a lot of enemies.

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