“The House IP Subcommittee needs a new leader. It needs a leader who will encourage debate on both sides so that members can understand the issues and a leader that gives the tools that congress needs to set out innovation policy properly.”
The House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee—Subcommittee on the Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet (IP Subcommittee) writes patent law and is responsible for other patent-related initiatives. A country’s patent laws directly affect its innovation economy. In a free-market economy, patent laws can boost or destroy incentives to invent and commercialize new things. As a result, patent law influences economic and job growth, social mobility, technological advances and national security.
The 118th congress has begun. Currently, the Republican Steering Committee is selecting the Chairs for the various committees and filling the ranks with members. The next step is for the Chairs of the various committees to select their subcommittee chairs. In the case of the IP Subcommittee, Jim Jordan is the Chair of the Judiciary Committee, so he selects the IP Subcommittee Chair. Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) is the most likely candidate to be selected.
Issa Is the Wrong Person
However, Issa is the wrong person for the job and has demonstrated that since he joined Congress. He has sponsored and cosponsored numerous bills that harm small entities for the benefit of Big Tech and Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-controlled multinational corporations. He was one of the key drivers of the passage of the America Invents Act (AIA), which created the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), the entity that now invalidates 84% of the patents it fully adjudicates. He has ignored other problems like eBay v. MercExchange, which highly restricted injunctive relief, and Alice V. CLS Bank, which unleashed a demon into the patent system called the “abstract idea.” This trifecta of damage has radically reduced the funding of startups by devaluing the only asset capable of attracting investment: patents.
From a national security perspective, China can steal its way to parity with the United States, but they cannot steal from us what we have not yet invented. With our patent system hobbled by bad law, China strengthened their patent system so that startups in China can collateralize patents to attract investment. Investment is now a global game. It moves to where there is the best return. That means the United States is no longer the best place to invest in startups – China is – and there has been a shift in early-stage investment from the U.S. to China.
Debate is Squelched
When US Inventor explains this to House offices, they are often hearing it for the first time, even though it has been happening for over a decade. It is the first time they hear it because Issa influences the selection of witnesses and sets the IP Subcommittee agenda. He has squelched the debate favoring Big Tech and CCP-controlled multinationals.
For many decades, the Republicans have rightly tried to curb frivolous litigation. Having been sued frivolously, I agree this is a valiant endeavor and much needed in the legal system. However, the mistake they make is that a patent is not a slip-and-fall case, it is a property right case, and that lack of knowledge is killing our innovation engine.
Issa is stuck in his position. He is one of the people who drove the AIA and its creation of the PTAB into law. He cannot now say it was a mistake, even as the overwhelming evidence shows it is. It is just better to squelch the debate.
That, of course, leads the House to vote for legislation that is bad for startups.
Debate Must Happen
However, that debate must happen. It is an economic fact that a patent that cannot be defended cannot attract investment. This is particularly important at the earliest stages of new business formation – the stage where an inventor has a big idea protected by a patent, but not much more. This first investment is the foundation of American innovation because without it, the startup does not start up. That first investment is not happening due to the state of the patent system. Investors are not confident in investing in a broken patent system.
It is a national security crisis that China is leading in key technologies like artificial intelligence and many others. They are no longer stealing to keep parity. They are out-innovating us and that is directly related to the failed U.S. patent system.
If we are going to remain a world power, we need to fix this mess, and that cannot be done without legitimate and forthright debate. Issa will continue to thwart debate as he has done for so long now.
The House IP Subcommittee needs a new leader. It needs a leader who will encourage debate on both sides so that members can understand the issues and a leader that gives the tools that congress needs to set out innovation policy properly.
Rep. Darrell Issa cannot become Chairman of the IP Subcommittee
Issa’s record shows that he is most unsuited for the Chairmanship position. Having offered one-sided legislation against patent rights and having been among the driving forces that gutted U.S. patent rights, Issa can never gain broad support or the trust of patent stakeholders necessary to protect or restore those rights.
Image Source: Deposit Photos
Image ID: 31248541
Join the Discussion
6 comments so far.
AvivaJanuary 27, 2023 05:25 pm
It is laughable to listen to all these patent trolls who want to obstruct real freedom and innovation to come together lie about patents and their lives as patent trolls. The reason most patents get tossed by courts is because they are trivial, unpatentable and suck
mikeJanuary 20, 2023 03:04 am
I agree 100% with Mr. Morinville. Issa is NOT FIT for IP Subcommittee Chair. His own words (cited below) speak for themselves.
– He dismisses the idea that, today, an inventor who seeks to license a patent is called a “troll”:
I’ve lived a long time. I never thought I’d hear Edison called a troll in a hearing and before Congress. [laughing] With that we go to the gentleman from Georgia.
https://youtu.be/hRTqtKebnQw?t=4574 at 1:16:14
– Yet amazingly, Issa contradicts himself. He calls anyone who defends a patent in court a “troll”:
For purposes of my opening statement, plaintiff and troll will be interchangeable.
https://youtu.be/lGWh6CDflxE?t=1101 at 18:21
– Issa favors infringers over patent owners:
We must maintain a robust ability to decide cases closest to the defendant, or there is no reason to have cases decided in District Court.
https://youtu.be/hRTqtKebnQw?t=6767 at 1:52:47
– Issa ridicules our judicial system. He makes fun of a jury of peers:
Just as a school kid in me. Marshall, Texas? 23,000 people? God bless them—God—for putting it there—there’s a special reason [gesturing with hand while shaking head]. Or Washington, DC. Which one seems to be more logical considering the expertise? But leaving that aside…
https://youtu.be/hRTqtKebnQw?t=6794 at 1:53:14
– He has disdain for federal judges:
…how case after case, in front of a busy Article III judge, was in fact extended, delayed, put off, where there are no timelines, and how often, in my case on multiple occasions, handed off to the next poor dumb “you know what”, who got elevated to the bench…
https://youtu.be/JHVr_8dAgnE?t=539 at 8:59
– He denies that China is an intellecual threat to the US:
I’ll now note that I’ve now heard that China is the — the country we’re going to base the high mark of uh [laughing] that we have patent tolerance on. Mr. Thorne, you had something you wanted to complete?
https://youtu.be/hRTqtKebnQw?t=4896 at 1:21:36
– He misunderstands patent eligibility, injecting a POSITA into the §101 analysis:
You know, with the knowledge of the time, and the innovation of the time, I think even the patent #5, the improvement of rye whiskey distillation, probably would still be patentable. One would have to go back and look at those of ordinary skill in the art at the time including George Washington as a distiller.
https://youtu.be/hRTqtKebnQw?t=6663 at 1:51:03
CitizenJanuary 20, 2023 02:26 am
I’m convinced but why is this story not featured on NPR and the subject of investigative reporting on a larger scale? To bring patent protection back to standard then a ground swell of public support seems necessary. Don’t let narrow self interests and a competitive foreign government win this.
AnonymousJanuary 18, 2023 10:40 pm
Issa’s subcommittee appointment is in jeopardy. The Republicans. His party (who decides the chairmanship) has lost faith in him.
Lab JedorJanuary 18, 2023 06:23 pm
Darrell Issa, up to his old (anti-independent inventor/pro Big Tech) tricks when in charge.
It is not often that you can actually check what someone’s position is on complex matters like Intellectual Property and Patents. But Mr. Issa’s opinions and actions in the House IP Subcommittee are well documented. IPWatchdog has followed this anti-patent patent holder for a while.
If you need being convinced, please reread IPWatchDog post of March 29, 2018: “The House IP Subcommittee: A Bunch of Fiddling Neros Watching the U.S. Patent System Burn.”
With Mr. Issa potentially in control again, we will see a repeat of history, with no hearings that include testimony from independent inventors.
It is time a certified pro-patent and pro-independent inventor Chairperson is placed at the head of this important Subcommittee, not someone who as one of his credentials is schmoozing with Big Tech in Davos. Not that he shouldn’t schmooze, but not exclusively with Big Tech.
Mr. Jim Jordan should invite independent inventors to discuss their concerns about this very important Judicial Subcommittee before appointing anyone.
Pro SayJanuary 18, 2023 05:12 pm
It is worse than sickening that a man who rightly and honorably benefited so greatly from America’s patent system has — inexplicably and shockingly — spent the years since to do everything in his power to deny that very same opportunity to all other American inventors; including — even worse — his fellow U.S. Veterans:
For the good of our country including the untold number of patent-seeking and patent owning veterans, he simply cannot — indeed must not — be the IP Subcommittee Chairman.