As technology enthusiasts, we here at Pocketables have complained quite a bit about the seemingly never ending patent wars. Particularly vicious between Apple and Android vendors, the patent wars do practically nothing for consumers, and on occasion even take away features users once had.
Naturally, this alone is frustrating, but what makes it even worse is that, more often than not, the patents on which these lawsuits are based are incredibly broad.
With only a bit of exaggeration, saying that manufacturers have been suing over black bezels, icon grids, and basic phone features (LTE, calendar event adding) isn’t too far from the truth.
In the past, everyone complained about how these broad patents were being used, and even that they were being issued in the first place. For example, why should a company get a patent on something so simple as a popup menu or well organized icons? Previously, there was not much the public could do other than complain, but fortunately that has just changed.
There is now an official website, courtesy of Stack Exchange, which users can utilize to submit questionable patents, prior art for existing patents, see what patents are waiting to be granted, and discuss the validity of patents. Thanks to a recent law change, the USPTO can take this information into account when looking at patents, which should help with the number of broad technology patents granted. All the users have to do is submit evidence against a certain patent, and once everyone feels that there is enough information the files and claim can be submitted directly to the patent office.
It may not be the final solution, but this is certainly a start. If this works out the way I hope it will, I think that it could potentially utilize the power of crowdsourcing to positive change the way technology patents are granted in this country, which, as I think most of us agree, would be a good thing.