Here is the ‘policy question’ from my 2009 patent law exam:
Essay 3 (15 points)
Congressman I. N. Venter has proposed an amendment to the Patent Act that would create a special right known as a “pioneering patent.” According to the proposal, pioneering patents would be awarded for inventions that are both the product of genius and that dramatically alter the technology landscape. Examples might include the airplane and the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The pioneering patent would require greater evidence of nonobviousness, but the applicant would be allowed to pursue broader claims that might not otherwise satisfy the enablement and written description requirements of Section 112. What are the pros and cons of this proposal? Would a better approach be to extend the patent term a number of additional years for inventions determined to be pioneering? (I.e., longer patents instead of broader patents).