Changing from the "first to invent" to the "first to file" system isn't going to solve the American patent system's problems, nor is it going to change the philosophy of the U. S. companies pursuing new technology and patents ("Is it time to reinvent the patent system?" Legal Affairs, Dec. 2). A very small percentage, less than a fraction of one percent of the patents granted or filed, end up in the long interference disputes based upon the first-to-invent system.
The problems stem from U. S. companies and Congress not putting as much money into research and development. And the government hasn't given the U. S. Patent & Trademark Office the budget and autonomy needed to function in today's international climate.
Changes to the U. S. patent laws are necessary, but major changes by the executive and legislative branches of our government are needed. One only need look at how the Patent & Trademark Office's budget is funded to see the problems. These problems go back to the days when Senator John McClellan was chairman of the patent, trademark, and copyright subcommittee of the Senate.
Anthony P. DeLio
New Haven, Conn.