|Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, January 04 2013 @ 04:48 AM EST|
|The PTO has a limited amount of time to inspect each patent (I believe it's|
around a day per patent).
In that day the patent examiner must not only decide on obviousness and so
forth, but must determine whether there is invalidating prior art not only in
the millions of existing patents, but in the trade press and other public
sources. Keep in mind the language used in the patent may differ drastically
from that used in the prior art.
SO the short answer is that at the time a patent is issued, the PTO *does*
believe that the patent is "worthy". Unfortunately it lacks the
resources to give an 100% accurate determination.
In the event of a re-examination, usually a particular party will have asked for
the re-examination because they have an interest in seeing the patent
invalidated. For that purpose they will produce a shopping list of invalidating
evidence, possibly the result of hundreds or thousands of hours of research.
Generally there's no guarantee that a re-examination request will actually
invalidate a patent. I believe Groklaw referenced a story a few days ago showing
that in most cases the claims of a patent are reduced, not eliminated, so any
pending court actions would still be necessary.
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