Last year Boulder was judged the brainiest city by Portfolio.com
, but lumped in with 20th place Denver in Forbes' list of innovative cities.
Now we're seventh on the Insomnia Log Patent Friendly Cities list
. Boulder area residents were issued 834 patents per 100,000 residents from 2006 through 2010, and only six other metro regions did better.
President Obama just signed a patent reform law, the first major overhaul of our patent system in 60 years, and there was hardly a peep from local inventors.
The most debated part of the new law converts the U.S. from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file system. Previously, you could get a patent if you could prove that you invented something first, even if someone else beat you to the Patent and Trademark Office. No more.
Supporters, including many of the biggest technology companies, say this will simplify things, eliminating contests over who actually owns an invention. A class of procedures is eliminated from the PTO. This should reduce legal costs, and help reduce the multi-year backlog of patent applications.
Many small inventors are not so thrilled. They fear big companies with teams of lawyers will file applications faster, and earn patents even when they weren't the first to come up with an idea.
Correction: In this essay, I said that, "Under the new law the PTO gets to keep all of its fees, rather than having them siphoned into the general fund." In fact, that provision was deleted during congressional negotiations.
Labels: Boulder, Daily Camera, geeks, law, science, technology