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In a recent blog post, Microsoft Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Horacio Gutierrez makes a plea for "patent harmonization," pointing out current problems in patent application backlogs, lengthening pendency periods, rising costs of prosecuting patent violators, and other issues.
"Over 3.5 million patent applications are pending around the world, including over 750,000 in the U.S. Pendency periods are extending to three, four, or in some cases five years before final patents are issued," Gutierrez wrote. "The cost of this workload to patent applicants and patent offices is too high, and the delays in securing patents are too long for entrepreneurs and large enterprises alike."
Gutierrez proposes a global patent system, which he says would resolve these and other problems associated with the national patent system.
It's probably no coincidence that Microsoft's focus on overhauling the patent system comes not long after the software giant was prosecuted in Texas for patent infringement for its Word application. A District Court in Texas issued a permanent injunction prohibiting Microsoft from selling or importing any Word products to the U.S. that have the ability to open .XML, .DOCX, or DOCM (XML files) containing custom XML.