Buckets with holes in them.

Posted by Douglas Sorocco at June 16, 2005 01:30 PM

I ran across a great quote the other day:

Fix the holes in the bucket first, and then worry about how to add more water!

The reason I like the quote is that it made me think.  I literally stopped and spent some time thinking about the quote and how it applied to my practice and intellectual property law in general.

Does anyone ever fix the bucket first?  I don’t think so.

A couple of examples:

  • Patent reform: no one is talking about improving the quality, consistency, training and working conditions at the patent office.
  • IP practice: most attorneys don’t work to strengthen their existing client relationships, they look for the next bigger, better client – that next notch on their belt.
  • IP portfolios: most companies don’t look at their portfolios with an eye toward plugging holes or covering the white space – most don’t align their IP with their business plan.

I am sure there are others, but these are the main ones that immediately hit me. 

What “holes” do y’all see out there?

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Nipper Says:

June 16, 2005 09:32 PM

Patent reform is touted as the way to fix the patent system...the way to get rid of the low quality patents that everyone talks about.

In my opinion, patent quality could be greatly increased by plugging the hole that drains right into Congress' pocket. Plug the hole, hold more water (cash)...hire more examiners. It's not rocket science.

For some reason, Congress isn't interested in plugging said hole.

Matt Buchanan Says:

June 17, 2005 08:51 AM

Doug -- I have to disagree, to some extent. As for patent reform, everyone is talking about fixing patent quality. That is, and always has been, the primary goal of the entire effort. Recently, the focus has shifted only beacuase political agendas are being advanced. Also, as Nipper suggested, one huge hole is the fee diversion issue. You'd be wrong if you believed that fixing the fee diversion issue isn't part of the reform movement. Indeed, its one of the driving forces. As with everything, though, the politics of it all endanger the possibility of truly fixing that hole.

Thomas Lee Says:

June 26, 2005 11:37 AM

Regarding quality of patents - actually here in Europe at least some of us are. In respect to the discussions on the draft directive over CII, I take the position that it's wrong to differentiate how the invention or innovation is realised. Why should an innovation implemented in a pure machine be different from one implemented in software (and in some cases, many machines are software driven anyway). Instead, the quality bar should be raised. Patents such as that on One-Click, are not really innovative and as such should not be granted. On the other hand, something such as speech recognition implemented in software seems worth of patent protection. My message to the MEPs I spoke to was to agree to the Common Position and then to ensure that the process is well run/managed and that innovation quality is clearly dealt with during the process.

Of course, you never really know what the impact of talking to just a few MEPs is going to be. We'll see shortly.

Tom Says:

March 10, 2006 02:47 PM

I was looking for the reference of the military genius or civil servant who recommended buckets have HOLES in them to prevent accidental drowning of toddlers. I looked and looked, however, I could NOT find the reference. Of course, the idea was shelved after a week or two, but it did happen, to the best of my knowledge... T.P.

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