NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Here is something patent owners may not know.When software patent holders are sued, they lose 90% of the time. James Besson, author of the book Patent Failure, says patents have become a disincentive to innovation. At the heart of the problem is money. The patent office is understaffed and overworked, says Gregory Aharonian, whose Web site is called BustPatents.com. It can cost hundreds of thousands to research a single software patent and there are 40,000 new ones approved each year. Last year's America Invests Act gave the patent office some more money, but it didn't address the key problem -- standards for issuing patents. And it didn't provide enough money to blow through the backlog, nor did it assure that courts will uphold patents because they were rightly given in the first place. Patent holders aren't getting the services they need to profit from their inventions. So I'd like to join Besson with a modest proposal. Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook. A patent tax. I know. Whenever this kind of thing even gets mentioned, anywhere in the world, the knee-jerk reaction is no. Make that hell, no. Why, you'll destroy incentive, we're told. So here's what I suggest. A 1% tax on the royalties of all patents, with current patent filing fees waived. The money would not go to the government, but to a corporation controlled by the Patent Office. That's plenty of money to do all that needs to be done.
It's an investment. Plus, since it's not going directly into the patent office, you have a mechanism that might be used to extend the regime to other countries. Imagine, internationally recognized patents, and a one-stop shop for intellectual property. Please tell me this is crazy, because the more I look at it the more sense it makes. When the alternative is paying lawyers to argue with one another after a patent grant, an outcome that costs more in the long run and doesn't help the patent owner one bit.