PUBPAT (site down at time of posting), a not-for-profit legal services organization that works to “protect the public from the harms caused by the patent system”, helped overturn four patents owned by Monsanto that had been used to “harass, intimidate, sue – and in some cases literally bankrupt – American farmers”.
The USPTO held that evidence submitted by PUBPAT, in addition to other prior art located by the Patent Office’s Examiners, showed that Monsanto was not entitled to any of the patents.
While Monsanto can appeal the decision, in 2/3 of past cases the overturn holds.
What strikes me is how noble PUBPAT’s cause is. By taking on overbroad patents owned by IP-focused “companies” that turn feral and demand licensing fees from anyone and everyone, they are providing a secondary policing mechanism to the overworked USPTO and providing a huge public good.
Other notable events for PUBPAT include:
- Convincing the USPTO to revisit four key patents held by Gilead Sciences that cover the drug tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF), which is a key weapon against HIV/AIDS.
- Requesting re-examination of the broad JPEG patent in November 2005, resulting in invalidation of parts of the patent by the USPTO in May 2006.
- Requesting re-examination of Microsoft’s FAT file system patent in July 2004. This patent was upheld in a decision made in January 2006.