Agency Wants Patent Holders’ Names Known

      WASHINGTON (CN) – The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced a roundtable to discuss proposed regulations that aim for greater public transparency for patent holders and applicants.
     The Patent and Trademark Office is considering new regulations that would require “greater public transparency” related to ownership of patent applications. “It is increasingly clear that the completeness of the patent record, including the ownership of patent applications and patents, plays an essential role in the efficient functioning of innovation markets,” the order said. “Since intangible assets now make up over 50 percent of the value of business outputs of U.S. industry, intellectual property rights are one key mechanism by which such intangibles can be exchanged, providing profits for innovators and moving technologies to their most efficient uses in the economy.”
     The office says clearing intellectual property rights often is “legally risky and expensive” for manufacturers or distributors when current ownership information on patents is not available. “Markets operate most efficiently when buyers and sellers can find one another. Yet in our current system, fragmented ownership in the patent rights covering complex products leads to potential buyers facing difficulty finding sellers, and to potential innovators not understanding the nature of the marketplace they are considering entering,” the office wrote. The proposed rules would require clear identifications of real-parties-in-interest in patent applications, among other things.
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