It's set to take effect later this week (March 16), but the first-to-file patent system in the United States is not without its critics. One of those is Merit Medical CEO Fred Lampropoulos, who holds more than 100 patents (albeit assigned to Merit). As he told MD+DI contributor John Conroy in a recent interview, he's not a fan of the new system.
I think I’m in the minority here. I’ve always thought that the [better] idea was first-to-invent versus first-to-file. The law is a disservice to the small guy who doesn’t have the money and may need to take [his idea] a little bit further before he takes the risk, whereas a larger company can file provisionally and that sort of thing. I’m not a big fan of the new system."
Like everyone else, Lampropoulos says Merit Medical will have to live with the new first-to-file system. But it's just one more hurdle for companies to clear in United States, and that has other markets looking more appealing.
...[S]uccessful businesses adjust to the climate, to the environment, and to change, and if you want to sit and spit into the wind, good luck. There are certain things that are the laws of the land and, like them or dislike them, you adjust. And that goes for the issue of capital we invest and where we create jobs and so on and so forth.
We’ll adjust, and it’s one of the reasons why Europe is becoming more attractive to us, because we think that it’s a more favorable environment for business."
What are your thoughts on the first-to-file patent system? Does it have you looking outside the United States?
Jamie Hartford is the managing editor of MD+DI.