Pure Storage has slammed the "broken and ineffective" US patent system and called for sweeping changes which it claims will better nurture future technological innovation.
The firm - which itself owns more than 300 patents after it snapped up more than 150 from IBM last summer - said the more than 200-year-old US patent system is out of date and should be updated to reflect the digital era.
"It's time to overhaul the broken, ineffective US patent system so that it actually promotes innovation and doesn't inhibit it," said its vice president of legal Joe FitzGerald on a company blog, which originally appeared on Forbes.
"While intended to protect inventors, the system as currently constructed instead creates disincentives for entrepreneurs. We need a new approach."
Under the current system, granted patents last for 20 years, which FitzGerald branded as "irrational" in this day and age.
"Let's think about that - what were you doing 20 years ago? You likely weren't surfing the internet, using a smartphone, reading books on an e-reader, shopping online, or watching TV on a giant flat-panel display," he said.
"The point is: technological innovation unfolds at a stunning rate. Rather than allowing 20-year old patents to block innovation, we should ensure that our patent system supports and nurtures innovation. It is irrational for a patent filed 10 or more years ago to be used to prevent innovation from happening in e-commerce or software today. The 20-year patent term needs to go."
He admitted the technology market has still enjoyed a high level of innovation in recent years under the current system but pointed to hundreds of patent legal disputes which have held firms back.
"Imagine how much more innovation these companies would have produced if they didn't have to deal with the cost and distraction of these lawsuits," he added.
Pure Storage is no stranger to patent battles itself - back in 2013, EMC initiated proceedings against it after accusing one of its own former employees of defecting to the fledgling firm and taking over key information. Pure's chief executive Scott Dietzen looked on the bright side and told CRN last year that the proceedings had at least produced a "PR upside" for the firm.
FitzGerald called on the US government to cut the patent term down to just five years as well as introduce a "use it or lose it" clause to further encourage innovation in the market.
"Patent owners, like trademark owners today, should be required to show evidence that they have actually productised their patented invention within a time certain [and] if not, then the remainder of the patent term should be forfeited," he said.
"While 20-year term patent owners will rail about how much money they have put into their innovations, and thus they should be allowed more time to recoup their investment, in today's fast-paced technology world, five years of patent life should be enough time to make your investment back."
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