Sometimes you really have to hand it to Judge Posner.

The sheer number of patents in the U.S. is fueling frivolous litigation and drastic action is needed to make patents more difficult to obtain and easier to invalidate, U.S. Circuit Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit said Tuesday.Speaking at a debate with two retired judges from the Federal Circuit, Judge Posner said that there were too many patents, particularly on relatively minor software innovations, which “creates confusion and uncertainty about what one can do without running into patent minefield.”

He called for sweeping changes to the patent system, including eliminating the presumption that patents are valid once they are issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and shortening the term of patent from the current 20 years.

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