Localized Patent Scope

Patents are not always taken out by large companies that produce their inventions or use their processes everywhere they would be desirable. Small companies may not have the resources to or interest in provide their wares to anywhere but a small market. Yet if they have a patent, they may choose to prevent other companies who are not even in their intended market from marketing that product. This can cause proliferation of good products to be slowed dramatically. Many companies also like to keep patented processes to themselves, even if they can be easily reproduced elsewhere. Again, this slows proliferation. Licensing fees for use of the patented material is a good method for allowing proliferation while giving the patenting company their “incentive” for creation. It seems, though, that in many cases the licenses aren’t offered or are at such a high fee as to prevent their use.

As the patent process is designed to give companies a temporary monopoly in their market, and marketing of the patented items outside of the companies market by others should not adversly effect the companies profitability, something should be done to ensure others can recieve the benifits of the advance in technology. Patents could only apply to goods produced within the area the company is actively marketing to, allowing companies outside of the area to produce without fear of legal problems. If the patenting company moves into the other companies market area, the company may choose to: stop marketing in that area, pay the companies license fee, or sell the related factories and equipment (if dedicated to that product) to the patenting company. The companies would come to an agreement through negotiation or use third party arbitration if this fails.