Monday February 14, 2005
12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Free and Open to all!
Many patents granted by the government are undeservingly issued. They issue for several reasons, including that the Patent Office is not aware of significant prior art (knowledge already in the public domain) and that the rules regarding how patents are granted are skewed through perverse patent policy to favor applicants. Wrongly issued patents injure the public because they can be, and often are, used by private actors to preclude activity that would otherwise be permissible, if not desirable. This and other failings of our current patent system cause prices for goods to be artificially high, the advancement of science to be thwarted, and civil liberties to be inappropriately restrained.
Most people do not realize how significantly wrongly issued patents and unsound patent policy injure the public. For example, life sciences industries, including particularly the pharmaceutical industry, are full of markets hampered by wrongly issued patents and unsound patent policy. Similarly, patents covering information technology, and specifically software, are slowing innovation and deterring competition in those industries, while also threatening the Constitutional rights of individuals and small businesses to due process and equal protection. Unfortunately, the interests of the public to be free from wrongly issued patents and unsound patent policy are not adequately represented. As such, the Public Patent Foundation ("PUBPAT"), a not-for-profit legal services organization working to protect the public from the harms caused by the patent system, was founded in 2003 to represent those interests.Dan Ravicher is Executive Director and Founder of the Public Patent Foundation (“PUBPAT”), Senior Counsel to the Free Software Foundation (“FSF”) and a registered patent attorney. A significant portion of Mr. Ravicher's practice involves Free / Open Source Software legal issues, most particularly licensing and patent counseling. In addition to representing clients on these matters, Mr. Ravicher has published numerous legal articles and given dozens of presentations regarding both Free / Open Source Software legal issues and patent law. Prior to founding PUBPAT, Mr. Ravicher was associated with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, LLP, and Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler, LLP, all in New York, and served the Honorable Randall R. Rader, Circuit Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C. Mr. Ravicher received his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he the Class of 2000 Franklin O'Blechman Scholar, a Mortimer Caplin Public Service Award recipient and Editor of the Virginia Journal of Law and Technology, and his bachelors degree in materials science magna cum laude with University Honors from the University of South Florida.