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Contact: Vicki Cohn, (914) 740-2100, vcohn@liebertpub.com
Computer Technology Would Boost Speed and Quality of Outdated, Backlogged Patent Review Process

Journal coverFebruary 28, 2011, New Rochelle, NY -The antiquated, backlogged patent review system in the U.S. jeopardizes innovation, economic recovery, and global competitiveness and would benefit greatly from the use of information technology and computers to improve the quality and speed of patent examination, according to a timely and forthcoming editorial in Biotechnology Law Report, a publication of Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. The editorial is also available free online.

Gerry J. Elman, Editor-in-Chief of Biotechnology Law Report and President, Elman Technology Law (Media, PA), writes: "With ‘Patent Reform' at the top of the Senate's agenda for the end of [February], it is imperative that the legislature support implementation of computer-assisted patent examination. Sadly, the Senate has failed to include this task in the bill scheduled for vote on February 28th. We urge Senators to amend Bill S.23 to include such means to help examiners to improve the quality and efficiency of the patent-examination process."

The U.S. patent review process is out-of-date and behind schedule, with a backlog of more than a million unprocessed patent applications. This stifles innovation and costs the U.S. economy billions of dollars and perhaps millions of jobs each year. The quality of patents awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has also been criticized, resulting in both weak patent protection that compromises corporate competitiveness and in a growing number of "junk patents."

"I believe that the process of examining patent claims needs to be reengineered," says Elman, encouraging the application of sophisticated information technology and computer-assisted patent review tools that are available to help patent examiners improve the quality and efficiency of the review process.

Biotechnology Law Report is an authoritative journal published bimonthly in print and online by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. First published in 1982, the Journal continues to lead the field in its coverage of the evolving body of law and government regulation concerning biotechnology. Focusing primarily on industries in which biotechnology underlies the rapid development of new products, including pharmaceuticals, chemicals, agriculture, food processing, energy, mineral recovery, and waste treatment, the Journal provides information and critical assessment of all legal aspects of these technologies as they move toward commercialization.