James Dyson calls for simplified patent system

The inventor of the 'bagless' vacuum cleaner, James Dyson, has called for the government to make it easier for small companies to protect their designs.

by Michael Northcott
Last Updated: 24 Nov 2014

In a speech to open a Dyson ‘incubator’ for design-based start-ups, the inventor said that the cost of defending a patent can easily get to £3m, meaning small companies are pushed out of the race and can have their inventions stolen.

‘The system does not support design and patent holders. It’s grossly unfair,’ he said. Here’s a man who has spent his life not only developing innovative technology but also fiercely defending it in lawsuits against competitors, so we reckon he knows a thing or two about the patent system. 

Then he got into the nitty gritty of why it’s tough: ‘The government must act to simplify the system. Patents are expensive to file in the first place. Then you’ve got renewal fees – there’s no other walk of life where you lose your rights on your work of art if you fail to ‘renew’ it. And then the costs of actually fighting a case are out of this world’.

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