Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/02/19/tegernsee_experts_group_survey/

You can help fix patent laws … now!

International patent harmonisation effort wants your input

By Simon Sharwood

Posted in Law, 19th February 2013 06:52 GMT

While Barack Obama frets about patent law and trolls attack even helpful government e-health initiatives, IP experts around the world are quietly working on something that might just help: a survey!

Not just any survey, mind. This one was created by Tegernsee Experts Group, an entity composed of representatives from patent offices in Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the USA. The European Patent Office is playing, too, and other patent offices like Australia's are watching the group's proceedings closely and urging locals to participate.

So what is the Tegernsee Experts Group? The name is derived from the Bavarian town where in July 2011 patent offices got together to talk about patent law harmonisation. The group met again in 2012 and resolved to tackle four issues outlined by the US Patent and Trademark Office. The four, as defined by that agency, are:

Of the four issues under examination at this point, reform to prior user rights seems an obvious method of reducing some of the trolling activity often reported in these pages.

Completing the questionnaire – which has 73 questions and takes around an hour – is not guaranteed to make such laws more sane, as the Tegenersee Experts Group has a mandate for harmonization, not reform. But perhaps a flood of opinion will encourage the group to pick the least-bad of its members laws as the model for others to follow. ®