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The PTO’s Future: Reform or Abolition?

In PTO’s Future: Reform or Abolition?, Professor Masur responds to the panelists from Intellectual Property Meets Administrative Law: Institutional Reform at the Patent and Trademark Office. In response to Professors Abramowicz and Duffy’s proposal for a competitive marketplace for granting patents, Masur uses the recent failures of the SEC to question whether the PTO could provide effective oversight of the new marketplace. In response to Professor Long’s analysis of the PTO’s efforts to expand its authority over patent law, Masur attempts to explain the Office’s “unholy alliance with intellectual-property-related interest groups and industry lobbying bodies.” Turning to Professor Rai’s article, Masur contrasts Rai’s incremental reforms to the sweeping changes suggested by Abramowicz and Duffy and wonders if implementing Rai’s suggestions might improve the PTO “to the point where a private competitor would not seem to offer such obvious benefits.” Finally, Masur examines Professor Mossoff’s "new defense of Lockean property theory" against Felix Cohen’s seventy-year-old critique. Despite Mossoff’s novel arguments, Masur maintains that an item or idea "has no value to an individual—even in Mossoff’s terms—without some set of enforceable rights."