Cuando la mayoría de la gente considera el sistema de patentes, piensa en una estructura en que corporaciones grandes ganan dinero por vender productos basados en conocimiento propietario, por licenciar la tecnología a otras, o por poner pleito a los que infringen los derechos de patente de sus productos basados en tecnología de punta. En los años recientes, la importancia de patentes y derechos de propiedad intelectual como una variable clave en el mercado ha sido reconocido por el público, mientras que líderes mundiales declaran la delantera de sus países en el concurso de innovación. En el mercado, el conocimiento es poder.
Patently Obvious® increases visibility and introduces other information into the market and public discourse that can be important in making decisions in the innovation spaces discussed. This information includes innovations precedent and concurrent with the patents being discussed. In some cases, potentially interesting innovations may actually lie in the public domain.
A vast amount of precedent innovation is unconsidered by patent-granting authorities in the creation of new IP rights. Patent granting authorities including the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), European Patent Office (EPO), Japanese Patent Office (JPO), Chinese State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) and many others are constrained by the use of patent classification systems which are routinely circumvented by patent applicants.
There is a two-way social contract underlying the patent system. In the United States, patent terms are generally limited to 20 years from the date of application. A social contract is implicit in the granting of intellectual property rights; the public good is served when there is complete disclosure of the information or knowledge necessary to practice an invention or granted innovation. In return, the public has been willing to allow the grant of time-limited exclusionary zones, which have anti-competitive effects, to those who have fully disclosed their innovations. By statutory intention, once a patent has expired, the patent holder loses the right to exclude others from fully utilizing any innovation described in the patent.
A large number of patents enter the public domain when they are “abandoned” – when owners discontinue paying patent maintenance fees. Patents also only provide an exclusionary right in the country for which the patent is filed. As demonstrated by the Global Innovation Commons (G.I.C.), using intellectual property available in the public domain eliminates the need to pay licensing fees on those innovations in countries where the patent was never registered, or worldwide, if abandoned.