Congress urged to reform patent system

May 2, 2005 at 1:43 PM

WASHINGTON, May 2 (UPI) -- Microprocessor giant Intel and other firms are urging U.S. Congress to reform the patent system on the grounds it hurts the tech industry.

The firms, universities and inventors say the long-under funded patent office takes years to review applications and many patents are improperly granted because examiners lack technical expertise, USA Today reported Monday.

Patents are crucial to tech firms because intellectual property is often their most valuable asset. But such patents often are contested in court, creating a flood of costly litigation, the report said.

Microsoft says it faces 35 to 40 patent cases at any given time, costing it $100 million in legal fees annually. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, has already introduced a bill for patent reform.

"Suggestions for changing the law have been accumulating," says Herbert Wamsley, head of the Intellectual Property Owners Association.

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