SUFFERN, NY, April 12, 2000 - Thousands of business method and e-commerce patents filed by companies over the past 12 to 24 months and awaiting U.S. Patent & Trademark Office approval could affect the face of business for many years to come.
Alexander Poltorak, Chairman and CEO of General Patent Corporation (GPC), recently told Sam Stone of The Wall Street Reporter Magazine that changes are in store for how business is conducted in the U.S. "The patent system is facing tremendous challenges in today's economy because the very nature of the way we do business has changed," Dr. Poltorak told Stone in an interview. "We are moving away from the brick and mortar business into an e-commence environment where the old standards don't necessarily apply."
"Recent court decisions that allowed patents on methods of doing business present tremendous challenges for business in general and e-commerce business in particular," continued Dr. Poltorak, whose company focuses on intellectual property management strategy. "Already we are seeing how many e-commerce businesses are embroiled in patent infringement litigation."
"The situation will become worse over time. Under the U.S. patent system, patent applications are kept secret in the patent office, and it takes approximately three years for the patents to issue. Already filed are thousands of patent applications related to various ways of doing business on the Internet, as well as various types of e-commerce applications. Many of these patents are going to issue in the coming months and years. Businesses will be surprised to find that most of the e-commerce applications are infringing somebody's patent. Many of the ensuing disputes will inevitably lead to a flood of costly patent infringement litigations."
In the interview, Dr. Poltorak discussed GPC's marketing strategy, its strengths in the marketplace and the services provided to its customers. Also discussed was GPC's management team and the key individuals who run the day-to-day corporate operations. When asked about the challenges facing GPC in the coming year and beyond, Dr. Poltorak spoke about the patent system saying: "The patent system served America well through the industrial revolution. But it must adapt intelligently to the new realities of e-commerce. Some of the changes that could bring the U.S. patent system into the new century may include publishing applications after 18 months; requiring patent applicants to do a reasonable prior art search; and awarding different patent terms to for industries that have very different economic cycles."
Dr. Poltorak was also asked what the most significant advantages are that GPC provides. "We help companies large and small, domestic and foreign to identify their most important assets - Intellectual Property - which more than likely are under-reported in their financial statements. We help these companies put their IP assets to work, thereby maximizing each company's shareholder value. We also represent, on a contingency basis, individual inventors and small R&D companies whose patents are infringed by others. This often involves financing the case, managing it, and negotiating settlements and licensing agreements." Dr. Poltorak ended the interview by stressing the "tremendous importance that intellectual property in general, and patents in particular" play in today's knowledge-oriented economy.